Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes findings of Commons Education Committee

The Commons Education Committee inquiry has reported that all schools in England should have to teach sex and relationships education (SRE) – this is an issue that Vera Baird has campaigned about for many years.
The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Young people learn so much at school and from each other.
“It’s important we teach them about sex education, how good relationships can be formed and how they should be maintained.
“Some youngsters will come from homes were they witness domestic abuse, so relationship education will show them that abuse is not the norm and there is help out there.”
The Commons Education Committee investigated SRE as in 2013 Ofsted found that more than a third of schools were failing to provide age appropriate SRE.
The Committee has now urged the Government to take action; the coalition Government has said it would consider the findings carefully.
Vera Baird said: “The Committee has made it clear that action needs to be taken and that Personal, Social and Heath Education (PSHE) needs to have the same importance as other subjects.
“I am pleased that the Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt has agreed that Labour will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education compulsory in all state schools.”
The Committee’s recommendations include:
·     The Department for Education developing a ‘work plan’ for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and SRE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools.
·     The Government endorsing and publishing updated guidance on SRE from subject specialists.
·     Ofsted resuming regular surveys of PSHE provision.
·     Schools consulting regularly with parents on SRE provision, with parents retaining the right to withdraw their child.
·     SRE to be renamed Relationships and Sex Education.
Vera Baird said the recommendations were to be welcomed, but added that she hoped parents would see the long term value of SRE and not withdraw their children from such lessons.



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