5 Jun '14

News Teaching about sex and relationships | @guardianletters

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have all stated publicly that sex and relationships education is important, yet Ofsted recently found that it remains unsatisfactory in a third of schools. This is hardly surprising when a survey of teachers showed that seven out of 10 felt they needed more training to deliver the subject properly and that regulations require only a handful of the more biological topics to be addressed. All children and young people need age-appropriate teaching. If pupils approaching puberty don't learn the proper names of sexual parts of the body, and those in secondary school are taught little or nothing about consensual relationships or sexual health, we are failing in our duty to safeguard pupils.As the education select committee opens its inquiry, we are calling for a commitment from political parties to make such teaching statutory. This would allow it to be treated the same as other subjects with educators trained in the subject and sufficient timetable time to tackle real-life issues, including domestic violence, exploitation and pornography. Statutory sex and relationships must apply to all schools, including primary schools and academies, and pupils must be guaranteed to learn medically correct facts about their bodies. Teaching must be pro-active in promoting gender and LGBT equality, and relationships education should count for at least half of that teaching. There is overwhelming support from parents, young people, teachers and health professionals to improve such teaching, so we urge our leaders to give it the statutory status it so urgently needs.Jane Lees Chair, Sex Education ForumDr Mary Bousted General secretary, Association of Teachers and LecturersDr Hilary Emery Chief executive, National Children's BureauPeter Wanless Chief executive, NSPCCDr Rosemary Gillespie Chief executive officer, Terrence Higgins TrustJulie Bentley Chief executive, GirlguidingJoe Hayman Chief executive officer, PSHE AssociationSimon Blake Chief executive, BrookDr Audrey Simpson Acting chief executive officer, Family Planning AssociationFelicity Owen Director of public health, Cornwall councilRuth Sutherland Chief executive officer, RelateAndrew Copson Chief executive, British Humanist AssociationJeremy Todd Chief executive, Family LivesAnn Furedi Chief executive, British Pregnancy Advisory Service Ann Hartley Deputy leader, Shropshire council Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain Chair, Accord Coalition for Inclusive EducationRod Thomson Director of public health for ShropshireAlison Hadley Director, Teenage Pregnancy Knowledge Exchange, University of BedfordshireLuke Tryl Head of education, StonewallGill Frances Life member, Sex Education ForumAndrew Wallis Lead member for children and young people, Cornwall CouncilRhys Hart Member, UK Youth Parliament for ShropshireDr John Lloyd President, Institute of Health Promotion and EducationSusie Parsons Chief executive, National Aids TrustJennie Williams Director, Enhance the UKHilary Pannack Director, Straight Talking Peer EducationJohn Rees Chair, National PSE Association for advisers, inspectors and consultantsDr David Regis Research manager, Schools Health Education Unit Lizzie Boyle Director, FruitionRuth Lowbury Chief executive, Medical Foundation for Aids and sexual health Alice Hoyle Coordinator, RSE HubSue Allen Chair, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays TrusteesPaula Power Director, CWP ResourcesYoan Reed Proprietor, Teaching LifeskillsDavid Evans CEO, APAUSEChris Cowan Company director, Loudmouth TheatreRev Jane Fraser Director, BodysenseLesley Kerr-Edwards Chief executive Officer, Image in ActionLiz Griffiths National PSHE CPD programme leadHilary Dixon Life member, Sex Education ForumEllen Adams Coordinator, Sexpression: UKDenis Cronin Associate director of public health, Cornwall councilRuth Hilton Member. Sex Education ForumMelody Dougan Life member, Sex Education Forum Continue reading...

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