Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Yessss. After a six month review, sex and relationships education in England is to become compulsory for all students of 11 and upwards. At last, at last, the Government has acknowledged what we sex educators have always known - that it's a straight choice between caught and taught.

Thankfully they've come down on the side of the teaching, so contraception, STIs and the supporting raft of relationship advice will be available to all late primary and secondary children from 2011 onwards. And that should mean that more resources are funnelled the SRE way - for student materials, teacher training and course support.

Yes, there are parental and faith school opt-outs, with provision for religious establishments to provide the teaching within the context of their own values. And, actually, though many sexual health providers disagree, I concur with this on the basis that democracy should trump mandatory every time.

But the fact remains that if we can fulfil this promise, in two years' time every adolescent in the country will be receiving regular, targetted, well-delivered SRE education. And with a bit of luck, a few years' after that, we won't be bottom of the European league tables for teen pregnancy and STIs!

PS: following a suggestion from my staff (truly not from me), I am now officially a nominee for the Our Bodies Ourselves Women's Health Heroes Award. If you'd like to vote for me - or even, if you know my work, post a comment in my support, then go to the Women's Health Heroes page and scroll down to find me. Last date for voting is May 8th.

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