Response to the Nadine Dorries Sex Education 10 Minute Rule Bill

The Sex Education Forum has today issued a response to the Nadine Dorries Sex Education 10 Minute Rule Bill that was presented in the Commons yesterday.

The full text of the Commons debate is available from Hansard.

The Sex Education Forum (SEF), part of the National Children's Bureau (NCB) believes that all children and young people are entitled to good quality sex and relationships education (SRE) and that the current provision of SRE in schools is inadequate.

Girls and boys alike tell us that the SRE they are getting is often too late, too little and too biological. Boys in particular often miss out on SRE at home as parents are more likely to talk to their daughters than their sons. Therefore improvements to SRE must meet the needs of both boys and girls and legally** schools must ensure equal opportunities in the education they provide.

There is often misunderstanding about what exactly SRE in schools looks like and what is considered age appropriate information. For children aged 3-6 years teaching is centred around issues like, 'where do babies come from' 'why are girls' and boys' bodies different' and 'which parts of my body are private'. Learning about friendships, families, and changing bodies are also central to primary SRE. Good quality SRE must start in primary school so that children can stay safe and be prepared for growing up. 

At secondary school SRE goes into more detail. Young people want more information about resisting pressure from friends or a partner, what to expect from a sexual relationship and how to cope with strong feelings such as anger, sadness, desire and love - and also about the law and sexual consent.

There is strong evidence that young people who have sex education that starts early and covers a broad range of topics are less likely to have sex at a young age, have fewer partners and are more likely to use contraception or condoms. There is also extensive evidence that a 'just say no' or 'abstinence only' approach combined with no information (or incorrect information) about contraception is not effective.

Notes to editors:

1. The Sex Education Forum is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). We believe that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and we are working with its 55 member organisations - including religious, children's, parents and governor, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit /

2. NCB's mission is to advance the well-being of all children and young people across every aspect of their lives.  As the leading national charity which supports children, young people and families, and those who work with them, across England and Northern Ireland, we focus on identifying and communicating high impact, community and family-centred solutions. We work with organisations from across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors through our membership scheme and through the sector-led specialist networks and partnership programmes that operate under our charitable status http://www.ncb.org.uk/

For further information contact the National Children's Bureau Media Office on: Tel: 020 7843 6045/6047 07721 097033 Email: media@ncb.org.uk

* The motion to introduce a Sex Education (Required Content) Bill was presented by Nadine Dorries MP on 4 May 2011

** The Equality Act 2010 covers the way the curriculum is delivered, as schools and other education providers must ensure that issues are taught in a way that does not subject pupils to discrimination. It is also a legal requirement for schools to teach a balanced view of any political issue (Education Act 1996, Section 407).