Government leadership needed to drive up standards

Government leadership needed to drive up SRE standards 

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has published findings  
(21 August 2013) showing that several schools have sex and relationships education (SRE) policies that echo or replicate Section 28 by prohibiting  the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. The Department for Education has responded by saying ‘Our sex and relationship education guidance makes it clear that schools should not promote any sexual orientation’.

The examples highlighted by BHA reflect a national situation where SRE has been shamefully neglected. Ofsted inspectors found SRE needs improving in a third of schools in England and highlighted homophobia as an issue that some schools were failing to address.

The Sex Education Forum believes schools need a clear message from government that SRE is a requirement for all schools and that high standards must be met. We recommend that the Government SRE guidance is updated without delay. The current guidance is 13 years old and pre-dates the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act and Equalities legislation.

Jane Lees, Chair of the Sex Education Forum said: “Teachers contact us because they feel isolated dealing with SRE and are often unsure about what they can and can’t talk about. We have a range of resources to help schools including a web-site and a network which teachers can join to share experiences and get peer support”.

“The best policies are written when the whole school community starts talking about SRE and the inclusive values that good quality SRE promotes. Parents, staff, governors and pupils should all be part of that conversation”.

“However, there is a limit to what schools can do in the absence of leadership from Government. We therefore call on the Department for Education to update their SRE guidance without delay”.

Resources available to help schools develop their SRE policies and teaching include: