Health charity Brook ‘disappointed but not deterred’ by Lords vote against compulsory sex education
The CEO of young people’s sexual health charity Brook says he’s “disappointed” by the House of Lords for voting against compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools.
Last night peers rejected a Labour amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which would have make sex education, including lessons on same-sex relationships, compulsory across state-funded primary and secondary schools.
The amendment received the support of just 142 peers compared to the 209 who voted against it.
“We at Brook are disappointed but not deterred by the Lords’ vote against statutory SRE,” Brook Chief Executive Simon Blake said in a statement to PinkNews.co.uk.
“We were however greatly heartened to hear so many peers stand up and argue for the critical importance of comprehensive SRE, which includes teaching about consent, online safety, same-sex relationships, and abusive relationships, in schools and colleges.”
He added: “Brook is working with the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum to provide updated supplementary advice to the government’s statutory guidance on SRE, which will be published shortly.
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“In the longer term, we will not lose sight of our goal of making SRE statutory, which will help young people to make healthier choices around relationships and sex.”
Prior to the Commons vote, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told PinkNews.co.uk that the government needed to make it a statutory requirement in order to address the health challenges faced by LGBT students.
Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed his frustration at the failure of the Cabinet to agree on the need to “improve” and “modernise” sex education guidance during a speech at a Terrence Higgins Trust event.
In an interview afterwards to PinkNews.co.uk, the Lib Dem leader said updating sex education could help in the fight against rising HIV cases among gay and bisexual men.
The Department for Education announced it would be working on “new advice produced by experts groups”, which will be emailed to all headteachers to use in conjunction with the existing teaching materials.
However, SRE would remain a non-statutory subject.
The PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum are the three organisations writing the new information for the government.