Sex education ‘inadequate or absent’ in many schools, report claims

Sex and relationships education (SRE) is ‘inadequate or absent’ in many schools across the UK, according to a report from the Terrence Higgins Trust.

The report, entitled ‘SRE: Shh… No Talking’, surveyed over 900 young people aged 16-24 and found that one in seven respondents had not received any SRE at all, with 61 per cent saying they received SRE just once a year or less.

Half of young people questioned rated the SRE they received as either ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’, with only two per cent rating it as ‘excellent’ and 10 per cent rated it as ‘good’.

It also raised some issues with the teaching of LGBT relationships, as 97 per cent thought that SRE should be LGBT inclusive, but 95 per cent said they were not taught about LGBT relationships at all.

Despite the apparent lack of SRE, the survey found that most young people thought the topic was important, as 99 per cent thought it should be mandatory in all schools.

Ian Green, the chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “In this report, we’ve seen the stark reality of SRE in this country and heard saddening stories of how one generation of young people have been exposed to low self-esteem, homophobia, bullying, unhealthy relationships and poor sexual health as a result of the lack of quality SRE in our schools.

“The government’s quiet blocking of compulsory SRE will condemn another generation of young people to leave school armed with little to no information on issues like LGBT relationships, gender identity and consent.”

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