Memorandum submitted by the Family Planning Association (FPA) (CS 03)
1.1 FPA is one of the UK's leading sexual health charities. Our mission is to help establish a society in which everyone has positive, informed and non-judgmental attitudes to sex and relationships; where everyone can make informed choices about sex and reproduction so that they can enjoy sexual health free from prejudice and harm.
1.2 We have restricted this memorandum to our
areas of knowledge and expertise and focus solely on clauses 10 to 14 of the
Children, Schools and Families Bill which relate to Personal, Social, Health
and Economic (PSHE) education and sex and relationships education (
1.3 FPA supports these clauses as we believe all young people have a right to information about sex and relationships to enable them to make safe and informed choices as they grow up.
1.4 High quality sex and relationships education does not make young people more likely to become sexually active; it can actually lead to them have sex later, especially when linked to confidential advice services. In addition, it can help to protect them from abuse or exploitation by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, be able to resist pressure and know where to go for help when they need it.
2. Current situation
2.1 Sex and relationships education is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up relationships, human sexuality, sex and sexual health. It should equip children and young people with the information, skills and positive values to enable them to have safe, fulfilling relationships and to take responsibility for their sexual health and wellbeing.
2.2 Currently, the only elements of sex and relationships education that are compulsory are mainly delivered through the science curriculum. This is not meeting young people's needs and many of them say the information they do receive at school is too little, too late and too biological.
2.3 A survey of over 20,000 young people conducted by the UK Youth Parliament in 2006-07 found that nationally 40 per cent of young people aged 11-18 rated the sex and relationships education they had received at school as either poor or very poor and a further 33 per cent rated it as average. The survey also found that 61 per cent of boys and 70 per cent of girls over the age of 17 reported not having received any information about personal relationships at school; overall 43 per cent of all the young people surveyed stated that they had not been taught about personal relationships at school.
2.4 The quality of
3. Impact of
3.1 FPA has long campaigned for sex and relationships education to be a compulsory part of the National Curriculum at all key stages. We believe it is vitally important to educate people about sex and relationships, to ensure that they have all of the information and advice they need to explore, develop and express their own sexuality safely.
3.2 Children and young people pick up messages
about sexuality and relationships from a young age and from a variety of
sources, including their parents, their friends, television, and the internet.
Not all of this information is accurate and FPA believes that school-based
3.3 Consequently, FPA supports the provisions of the Children, Schools and Families Bill to introduce statutory sex and relationships education. We welcome the fact that the Bill is drafted to ensure that all young people will have an entitlement to receive at least one year of sex and relationships education in school.
3.4 Concerns are sometimes expressed that
talking to young people about sex and relationships and
3.5 Good quality
3.6 High quality
3.7 SRE should not be values-free and most
4.1 FPA believes that parents have a key role to
play in providing sex and relationships education for their children. We
believe that the provision of
4.2 However, it is important to recognise that some parents and carers will be unable or unwilling to talk to their children about these issues and it is vital that these young people still receive high quality information about sex and relationships. In 2007, Ofsted produced a report on Personal, Social and Health Education, which stated that: 'Parents' greatest challenge is to set clear expectations, and to be aware of and to accept responsibility for their children's behaviour. Some parents do not rise to this challenge. Pupils look to schools for help, hence the importance of high quality PSHE'.
4.3 Parents are supportive of statutory
4.4 Very few parents currently withdraw their
 Swann C et al, Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood: A Review of Reviews, Evidence
 Department for Education and Skills, Teenage Pregnancy
Next Steps: Guidance for Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts on Effective
Delivery of Local Strategies (
 Ofsted, Sex and Relationships Education in Schools (
 Ofsted, Time for change? Personal, Social and Health Education (