Poor sex education is ‘failing’ UK school pupils, survey finds
A survey has found that young people in the UK are being put at risk by “inconsistent” sex and relationship education – which leaves them at risk.
The Sex Education Forum carried out a survey of over 2,000 young people aged 11 to 25 – finding their safety may be at risk due to inconsistent sex and relationships education.
The survey found that many young people did not report education about a range of topic – including sexual consent, sexual abuse, or information about female genital mutilation.
It found that half (50%) of young people reported they did not learn how to get help if they were abused, over half (53%) did not learn how to recognise grooming for sexual exploitation, and more than 40% had not learned about healthy or abusive relationships.
A third (34%) of young people said they learnt nothing about sexual consent at school.
It comes amid calls for statutory LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education in schools.
Neil Carmichael MP, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, recently wrote for PinkNews to urge the government to make sex and relationship education compulsory in schools.
Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said: “The odds of a young person learning vital information about equal, safe and enjoyable relationships are no different than the toss of a coin.
“The ultimate consequence of this is that many children don’t know how to recognise abusive behaviour or how to seek help.
“With evidence about the benefits for children and young people of teaching SRE stacked up high and a growing list of politicians calling for the subject to be mandatory, there is no excuse for Government to continue leaving SRE to chance.”
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers said: “As members of the Sex Education Forum, ATL fully supports its call for mandatory and inclusive Sex and Relationships Education.
“We know that education staff want high quality training so that they can deliver the SRE that will enable young people to keep themselves safe.
“We call upon the Government to take this important step, which parents, education staff and young people all want, so that we can all help to tackle child abuse, sexual health issues.