Now that the election is over, let’s take a moment to wonder: whatever happened to statutory SRE?
In October of 2008, many professionals in the sexual health community were elated to hear the Government announce that sex and relationships education (SRE), as part of Personal Social Health Education (PSHE), was to be made a statutory part of the national curriculum. For years, SRE provision had been spotty, with proactive schools developing brilliant, comprehensive programmes of work, while other schools languished. A 2008 UK Youth Parliament survey of over 20,000 young people found that 40% rated their sex ed as poor or very poor, with a further 33% saying it was average. Many professionals and professional bodies, including the Sex Ed Forum (of which EFC is a member), have long held that making PSHE statutory will elevate the subject to the same status as other curriculum subjects, helping to lead to improved provision.
However despite widespread support among professionals and young people themselves, statutory SRE was dropped last month. As members of the Sex Ed Forum, Education For Choice will continue to push for excellent SRE for all young people. Until and after sex ed becomes a part of the mandatory national curriculum, we’ll continue training teachers, providing resources, and supporting best practice provision, particularly around the issue of abortion. You can still access our Best Practice Toolkit: Abortion Education free of charge on the EFC website.
What happened to statutory SRE? A Timeline
2007: UKYP launches “SRE: Are you getting it?” campaign
2008: Government announces a review of SRE
October 2008: The Government announces, on the day of the Sex Ed Forum’s 21st birthday, that SRE, as part of PSHE, is to be made a statutory part of the national curriculum
April 2009: Alastair MacDonald’s review of PSHE concludes; Government confirms intention to make SRE statutory
November 2009: Bill will lower parental withdrawal age to 15, so all 15-year-olds would get at least one year of sex ed
February 2010: Campaigners outraged by a Commons amendment to the Children, Schools, and Families Bill that would allow faith schools to teach sex ed from a faith perspective
April 2010: Statutory SRE ultimately dropped