In a letter published in The Telegraph today, Childnet joined together with other members of the Sex Education Forum to urge David Cameron to update sex and relationships teaching guidance that is 13 years old and ‘behind the times’.
We are calling on David Cameron to support and prioritise the update of the teaching guidance for SRE. It was published in 2000 but over the last decade we have seen an explosion in the use of digital technologies and social networking sites, particularly among young people. The central importance of digital technology in young people’s lives has an impact on sex and relationships, and it is essential that topics such as pornography and sexting (the sending of sexually explicit images or messages) are addressed in sex and relationships education. Young people, parents and teachers want topics like sexting and pornography included in SRE lessons, but schools need guidance to support them to achieve this.
Childnet, together with our partners at the UK Safer Internet Centre, view this as a priority and we are working on guidance and resources to support parents and teachers in updating sex education for children and young people in a digital age. In particular, our UK Safer Internet Centre resources on sexting have been welcomed by school staff.
Highlights from the letter:
Schools have out-of-date guidance, which was published 13 years ago by the Department for Education and Employment. This pre-dates the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act and the 2010 Equalities legislation which requires schools to take account of gender equality when teaching young people about non-violent, respectful relationships.
The Government SRE guidance is also behind the times on technology and safeguarding, with no reference to addressing on-line safety, 'sexting' or pornography in SRE.
We call on the Government to work with professionals in the sector to produce up-dated SRE guidance. This, we believe, would send out a clear message to schools that SRE is an absolute requirement, and that high standards must be met.
The letter in full: ‘David Cameron must update sex and relationships guidance’
The Telegraph 4 September 2013: Sex education guidance 'behind the times', say leading teacher and parent groups
The Telegraph are promoting a Change.org petition to urge David Cameron to act on this: https://www.change.org/petitions/david-cameron-bring-sex-and-relationship-education-into-the-21st-century-bettersexeducation