Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been accused of avoiding a decision as to whether the government will make PSHE (personal social health and economic) and sex education compulsory in schools.
Morgan, who recently told Attitude
she wants our young LGBT readers to know she's "on their side,
" today released responses to a report tabled by the Education Select Committee back in February. The report recommended the Department for Education “develop a workplan for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and sex education as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools”.
Four months later, Morgan's decision based on those recommendations remains opaque.
“All young people should leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. High quality PSHE teaching has a vital role to play in this, helping young people understand the world around them, building resilience and helping them to make informed choices and stay safe," she says in her findings.
“In March I announced new measures to improve the quality of PSHE, including the development of a new, rigorous PSHE quality mark and working with the PSHE association to quality assure resources.
“However, we recognise that PSHE is not yet good enough in many schools. In the coming months I intend to look at all the options to ensure PSHE is taught well everywhere.”
The National AIDS Trust has lead the criticism in the wake of Morgan's response, saying the government has "failed" to accept the recommendations on how to improve sex education in the UK.
“The Government’s refusal to give all young people in this country an equal access to information is creating a two-tier education system. Depending which school you happen to go to, you may or may not have access to good sex and relationships education and you may or may not learn how to protect yourself from getting HIV in real-life situations– this is a violation of the human rights of many young people," said Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of the NAT.
“One in five people in the UK don’t know you can get HIV from sex without a condom. Our research found three-quarters of gay and bisexual young men don’t receive any information about same-sex relationships at school, at the same time new HIV diagnosis amongst this group have doubled over the past ten years. Sex education in the UK is not working and the Select Committee has reported it is getting worse. Only by making PSHE and SRE statutory and relevant to all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, will we start to address the shockingly low levels of understanding about HIV and see the static numbers of new HIV infections go down.”
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