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Posted On: 23rd Dec 2016

Sex education to be compulsory

Pupils will be taught about sexting
Sex education to be compulsory

Sex and relationships education is to be made compulsory in all schools and pupils will be taught about pornography, sexting, domestic violence and the nature of consent, reflecting calls made by young people working with Fixers.

 

Their recommendations were submitted as evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee earlier this year and used to drive the first parliamentary enquiry into sexual harassment in schools.

 

Last month the Government rejected a recommendation to make sex and relationships education compulsory.

 

But in a sudden change of direction, the Government is now taking steps to tackle sexual harassment in schools.

 

Rosie, 17, who contributed to the report, said: 'I'm delighted that the Government has listened to young people and we have had our voices heard.

 

'Sex education up until this point has always been the same and I feel like now this is a big step forward in educating young people on not just sex, but what consent means.

 

'It is clear that times have changed and issues surrounding pornography and consent are vital to ensure that young people grow up confident and strong.'

 

Meg, 18, said: ‘Online safety and sexting needs to be a whole lesson or few lessons in PSHE.

 

‘There needs to be lots more education about sexting and the dangers of it because it’s part of relationships now.’

 

 

Fixers found that sexualised behaviour is the new social norm in young people’s daily lives.

 

One in four young people aged 16-25 confided they had felt pressured into sexting, sexual activity, drinking alcohol and taking drugs, including so called ‘legal highs’ in and around school.

 

Some 18% reported being sexually harassed once or more than once and 34% did not feel safe walking to and from school. Some 12% stated they had been sexually assaulted.

 

While 74% felt physically safe in class, only 27% felt emotionally safe in class.

 

Free schools and academies which include most Christian, Jewish and Muslim schools currently do not have to teach sex education, and parents can also withdraw their children from classes.

 

In a hint that the opt-out could be dropped, a government source told the Sunday Times that the education secretary Justine Greening would review this.

 

The source said: ‘Justine is clear that this is something that has to be looked at. It is not just a question of making it mandatory but also of what we should be teaching, including issues such as sexting and domestic violence.’

 

Tory MP Maria Miller tweeted: ‘Pleased Government listened to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report on Sexual Harassment in Schools.’

 

 

Author: Harriet Hernando

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