Today I am proud that Brook in partnership with PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum has launched Supplementary Advice to update Government’s Statutory Sex and Relationship Education Guidance published in 2000. All of us committed to ensuring children and young people’s entitlement to good education about sex and relationships as part of PSHE education whatever school they are in, wherever they are in the country.
The link to the SRE Supplementary Advice is here www.brook.org.uk/supplementaryadvice.
The Times Educational Supplement has published an article about the Supplementary Advice which is here.
Much of what is in the statutory 2000 guidance remains good, yet there have been advances in technology which brings the potential for real excitement and easy access to knowledge and information, as well as new challenges – the easy spread of images and easy access to pornography. We also now know more about issues like Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and the importance of young people developing a positive and active understanding of consent and pleasure, and the development of key skills to navigate and develop positive healthy relationships whatever their gender and sexual identities.
The three organisations have taken advice and input from teachers and other experts to help shape this Supplementary Advice. We have worked hard to incorporate the range of different perspectives and I am immensely proud there is now Supplementary Advice for schools that has such senior support from a wide range of colleagues including Lord Nash, Schools Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, Teaching Unions, NSPCC, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, Girlguiding UK, ParentZone, Stonewall, CEOP and Public Health England (you can see their support at the back of the Advice).
David Cameron himself has also said he welcomes the work of expert organisations supporting schools in this area in response to particular public health concerns about violence and his concern about online pornography. But let’s be clear this does not replace the ongoing need for statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education or strong national and local leadership. It should, in my view, move on from the protracted and intransigent debate that was developing about Government’s failure to update their statutory guidance and the implicit and explicit finger pointing that it was because of the out of date guidance that SRE is ‘still not good enough’ to use Ofsted’s words.
Whatever your view about whether government should update their guidance or not, they have chosen not to and it is important we provide schools with the support they need NOW whilst continuing to campaign for more leadership and support for positive, empowering sex and relationships education. Government repeatedly confirm PSHE is an important part of the curriculum for young people that schools must ensure children receive their entitlement to and I am pleased Joe Hayman, CEO of PSHE Association and collaborator on this Advice is going to chair a government advisory group on PSHE.
Of course, it is true much more needs to be done to accelerate progress in PSHE. This Supplementary Advice is one piece of the jigsaw. David Cameron and Lord Nash have both welcomed this Supplementary Advice and we have got to the starting line. All of our jobs now as expert agencies, teachers, Unions and schools is to make sure we don’t mistake the task of producing the Supplementary Advice for the real task – improving SRE in schools. All of us at Brook and our colleagues at the PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum look forward to working with you to develop SRE for the 21st Century.
Thanks to everyone – too numerous to name here – for support, insight, challenge and perspectives and to Sarah Townsend (@STEcopywriting) and Ashley Goldstein (@weaseldance) for their important contributions. I would personally welcome any feedback about the Supplementary Advice at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can know whether it has hit the spot and what else we can do to support teachers to get on with the real job – delivering excellent SRE for young people.
Happy weekend – follow us on twitter @simonablake @besexpositive @brookcharity and please do use the hashtag #SREAdvice.