Parents and carers have a unique role in SRE
Children have made it clear that they want parents to be their first educators about sex and relationships. Most parents feel the same way but far fewer parents actually talk to their children about these important topics.
The advantage of talking about sex and relationships at home is that it can be more informal and spontaneous than timetabled teaching at school. And because of the unique relationship between a parent and child this makes learning about sex and relationships at home very different to school.
Researchers have found that SRE is more effective if both home and school are involved.
What role do parents really take?
Many parents and carers find it difficult to talk to their children about sex and relationships. This is partly because of parents' embarrassment, lack of knowledge and also having a bad (or non existent) experience of their own SRE.
As a result many children grow up without ever having had a conversation with their parents about sex and relationships. Boys are less likely than girls to have talked to their parents, and fathers are less likely than mothers to start discussion.
"My own mother was brilliant but parents whose own sex education was lacking will have trouble knowing how best to teach their children" Young person responding to a Sex Education Forum survey.
Parents views on school SRE
This briefing includes findings from a OnePoll survey in 2014 that found the vast majority of parents want trained teachers to teach about SRE in primary schools; and findings from a literature review of evidence relating
98% of parents answering a mumsnet survey (in 2011) said they were happy for their children to attend school SRE lessons. However many parents say they don't know what the school is teaching and they want to know more.