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Main party leaders respond to calls for inclusive SRE in all schools

Joseph McCormick February 13, 2015

The three main political party leaders in the UK have responded to a campaign calling for LGBT-inclusive Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).

PinkNews in September joined with a coalition of LGBT organisations and campaigners writing to political leaders in the UK to highlight a need for compulsory LGBT-inclusive SRE in all schools.

All three have since responded to the open letter, which was signed by PinkNews and was issued to David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in October.

In his response, Mr Cameron said: “I strongly agree with the importance of high-quality PSHE education in schools. I believe that all schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, and we have outlined this expectation the introduction to framework to the new national curriculum.”

Deputy Prime MInister Nick Clegg also wrote a response, saying: “I agree that we need to give young people better education about sex and relationships so that they can make informed and responsible decisions concerning their sexual health.”

Labour Leader Ed Miliband said in his response: “I believe that good sex and relationships education is key to changing attitudes and behaviour to teaching the importance of respect for others.”

Mr Cameron was criticised by some for not including the words lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in his letter responding to the calls, however a Number 10 spokesman said all schools had been offered guidance by the Department for Education, and that more would be said on the subject

A Downing Street spokeswoman told PinkNews: “The Prime Minister has always been clear about the importance of good quality and inclusive sex and relationship education. That’s why all schools teaching it must follow the Education Secretary’s guidance, which states it must be age appropriate   young people, whatever their developing sexuality, need to feel sex and relationship education is relevant and sensitive to their needs.”

Deborah Gold, chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) responded to his comments: “There are LGBTI young people at every school. They all have a need and a right to learn about healthy and safe relationships and sex. This is equally true in every school.”

Cliff Joannou, Editor of qxmagazine.com, who devised the ‘Same Sex SRE’ campaign, said: “The current policy is completely inadequate to prepare young people for life in the modern world. Social media, the internet and smartphones expose them to all sorts of pressures such as issues around body image and inappropriate imagery. In addition, LGBTI young people find they are further marginalised or ignored by the education system. I welcome the commitment to age appropriate LGBTI inclusive SRE from Labour and the Liberal Democrats to tackle this. It’s disappointing that by refusing to acknowledge the need for statutory, inclusive SRE the Conservatives continue to ignore the health and wellbeing of all young people, both heterosexual and LGBTI. In the least for David Cameron to reply to our letter regarding these LGBTI-specific issues without acknowledging any reference to ‘LGBTI’ is unacceptable.”

A Private Members’ Bill, tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas, requiring SRE to be introduced as a provision of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education had its second reading postponed last year and will now receive parliamentary attention in February.

The Lib Dems have signalled support for the bill.

Last year, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hinted that she could be moving towards supporting statutory PSHE – however she is yet to confirm her intentions.

 

More: David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, PSHE, sex and relationship education, SRE

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