Children ‘denied education for safe relationships in schools’, says BHA

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has once again criticised the Department for Education’s (DfE) stance on making personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE), including sex and relationships education (SRE), compulsory in English schools.

In response to a call for evidence from the Women and Equalities Committee the BHA has said that the government’s decision not to make PSHE compulsory ‘flies in the face’ of the recommendations made by a huge number of education, health, and children’s rights experts, including the Chief Medical Officer, the Children’s Commissioner for England, and the NSPCC.

It also described various measures, such as new resources for teachers and computing programmes designed to keep children safe online, as ‘piecemeal’, claiming they would ‘simply lead to a continuance of the status quo’.

Jay Harman, BHA education campaigner, said: “All the evidence and all the expertise tells us that comprehensive, high-quality, and age-appropriate PSHE, including SRE, leads to the best outcomes in terms of improving sexual health, reducing teenage pregnancy, challenging gender stereotypes, educating about consent, protecting children from abuse, and tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying. Bizarrely, the government has acknowledged all this, and yet continue to hold out on giving the subject the statutory underpinning it needs in order to be effective. We must give children the information they need to be healthy, safe, and confident, and we will continue to put pressure on the government until they this is achieved.”

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