Barnado's survey shows children want compulsory sex education classes

A survey by a national children’s charity Barnardo’s has shown that almost three quarters of teenagers want all schools to have lessons on sex and relationships (SRE).

The charity consulted 1,167 youngsters aged between 11 and 15, with 73 per cent of those polled believing children would be safer if classes on the subject was provided.

The charity’s chief executive, Javed Khan said: “Compulsory sex and relationships education for all children must be introduced as soon as possible - it will help prevent children being groomed and sexually exploited.”

Worryingly, the survey showed that 6 per cent of young people in London thought it was fine to share personal information about themselves online with strangers, compared to those in other parts of England. Seven per cent said they would meet a stranger face to face after meeting them online, compared to three per cent across England.

Barnardo’s ambassador and former Girls Aloud singer, Nicola Roberts said: “With sexting becoming such a huge problem, it’s essential that children know how to protect themselves online.

“It’s down to the government to stop letting them fend for themselves online and protect children by providing compulsory sex and relationships education.”

Women and Equalities Committee chair, Maria Miller added: “These findings underline the importance of ensuring all school children have compulsory lessons on sex and relationships appropriate for their age.

“The case for compulsory sex and relationship education has never been stronger.”

The charity’s poll follows a report made by the Women and Equalities Committee to parliament in September, which revealed young people said sexual harassment had become a “normal” part of school life.

The committee’s report showed 29pc of 16-18 year old girls said they had experienced unwanted sexual touching at school and 70pc of all boys and girls said they heard derogatory words used towards girls at school on a regular basis.

In November, five chairs of parliamentary select committees sent a strongly worded letter to the education secretary, Justine Greening, demanding a change in government policy towards SRE in schools.

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