Almost three quarters of pupils are not taught about consent and at least 95 per cent are not taught about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships during sex education in school, new figures suggest.
A Terrence Higgins Trust survey of young people aged between 16 and 24 found that one in seven had not received any sex and relationships education (SRE) during their time at school, with almost two-thirds given lessons a maximum of only once a year.
Researchers from the charity say the report provides further evidence to suggest that SRE in British state-schools is worryingly substandard, creating a “safeguarding crisis” for young people and leaving them vulnerable to abuse, bullying and poor health.
The findings are in line with an Ofsted report in 2013, which found SRE teaching to be inadequate or requiring improvement in 40 per cent of schools. Since then, campaigners have ramped up the drive to make all Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) mandatory in schools, a request that was refused by the last Conservative Party Cabinet.
Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of SRE resource hub the Sex Education Forum, believes the latest political reshuffle could present new hope for change.
She said: “The gaps in school Sex and Relationships Education are plain to see; there is simply no justification for the Government’s failure to require that all schools provide this vital subject. With a new Cabinet in post there is a fresh opportunity for action."
"Good quality SRE must start early in primary school and be a lifelong process of learning. Understanding consent, or how HIV is transmitted should not be something that adults discover through experience. We urge Justine Greening to commit to statutory SRE at the earliest opportunity.”
But how much do you know about the rules, guidelines and awkward ins and outs of Sex-Ed? Take our quiz – created in conjunction with the Sex Education Forum – to find out
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