Letter to the Times April 2013

To the Editor of the Times

Published 12 April 2013

Sir, We are deeply concerned that the Government's science curriculum proposals will have a negative effect on sex education for children and young people.

Children have a right to learn about their bodies, physical development and reproduction. We know that there is easy access to explicit sexual images on the internet. The National Curriculum science is the only compulsory part of sex and relationships education in schools and must teach children about how their bodies work to prepare them for growing up and to protect them from harm. However, the science proposals omit any reference to genitalia, puberty or sexual health.

We believe that these proposals will not help schools to achieve the Government's ambition to 'create an honest and open culture around sex and relationships', as set out in the new Framework for Sexual Health Improvement. It is time to put any adult squeamishness about sex aside. We urge the government to safeguard children by unambiguously including the essentials of sex education in science.

Signed by 

Jane Lees, Chair, Sex Education Forum

Justine Roberts, Co-founder and CEO, Mumsnet

Reg Bailey, Chief Executive, Mothers Union

Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive, National Children's Bureau

National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People

Annette Smith, Chief Executive, Association for Science Education

Dr Anthony Falconer, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Chris Wilkinson, President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health

Professor Lindsey Davies, President, Faculty of Public Health

Dr Audrey Simpson OBE, Acting Chief Executive, FPA (Family Planning Association)

Sir Nick Partridge, CEO, tht (Terence Higgins Trust)

Helen Lansdown, CEO, Deafax

Simon Blake OBE, CEO, Brook

Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs, British Humanist Association

Royal College of Nursing

Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE)

Janet Atherton, President, Association of Directors of Public Health

Association of Young People's Health

Martin Tod, Chief Executive, Men's Health Forum

British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)

Jonathan Bartley, Co-Director, Ekklesia

Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

Martin Pendergast, Chairperson, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality

Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive, UK Youth

Susanne Rauprich, Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Chair of The Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education

UK Youth Parliament

British Youth Council

Leap Confronting Conflict

Youth Net


And supported by the Life Members and 75 Member organisations of the Sex Education Forum:

Life Members

Jo Adams MBE

Hansa Patel-Kanwal OBE

Hilary Dixon

Melody Dougan

Gill Frances OBE

Alison Hadley OBE

Lorna Scott

Liz Swinden

Sue Plant

Dilys Went

Anne Weyman OBE

Member organisations

Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education

Action for Children






Big Talk Education

Black Health Agency

Body & Soul

British Humanist Association


Brook London

Cambridge Education @ Islington

Caught in the Act


Children's Society

Church of England Education Division

The Christopher Winter Project

Cornwall Learning


CSN Consultancy Ltd


Dept of Sexual & Reproductive Health Lewisham PCT Community Health Services

Esteem Resource Network

FPA (Family Planning Association)

Family Lives


Forward UK

Grace Academy Foundation

Image in Action


Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement

Loudmouth Education & Training

Marie Stopes International



The Methodist Church


National AIDS Trust

National Secular Society

Naz Project London

National Children's Bureau



Nottingham Domestic Violence Forum


National Youth Agency


One Plus One

Oxfordshire County Council

Platform 51

Population Matters

PSHE Association


Richmond upon Thames College

Romance Academy



SHARe Team (Sexual Health and Relationships Team)

SRE in London


Straight Talking Peer Education


Teaching Lifeskills

Teens & Toddlers


Terrence Higgins Trust (tht)


Woodhouse College

Working with Men


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