BHA welcomes Lords Committee’s call for statutory SRE


The House of Lords Select Committee on HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom has called today for Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) to become a statutory national curriculum subject – a call that the British Humanist Association (BHA) welcomes.

The Committee was formed in December last year to consider HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom, and their recommendation came as the Committee published its concluding report, ‘ No vaccine, no cure ’. The report’s main conclusion was that prevention should become the main priority in tackling HIV and AIDS. To this end, the role of SRE was examined, and the report concluded that it should become a compulsory National Curriculum subject:

‘We are of the view that a statutory basis for SRE is essential. This would ensure that SRE is given appropriate priority in school timetables, driving the development of consistent standards… Whilst acknowledging that the [Government’s PSHE] review is yet to complete its work, we recommend that the provision of SRE should be a mandatory requirement within the National Curriculum, to enable access for all. Such education should begin within all schools from Key Stage 1, though this teaching must be age-appropriate.

BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘The BHA has long called for statutory SRE, teaching about contraception, abortion, sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.’

The BHA lobbied in favour of the introduction of statutory SRE during the passage of the Children, Schools and Families Act last year; in April this year, again argued for such a change in its response to the Review of the National Curriculum for England; and made the call yet again in May, when the HIV and AIDS Committee questioned Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

In July the Government launched its review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education , in which they stated that they have ‘ no plans to change the law on sex education or parents' right to withdraw their child from sex education. ’ Mr Thompson continued, ‘We urge the Government to take heed of the growing chorus of voices and open up to the possibility of making SRE a compulsory national curriculum subject. We will be using our response to the PSHE Review to argue for this, and will encourage our members and supporters to respond likewise.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7462 4993.

Read the House of Lords Select Committee report, No vaccine, no cure: HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom , published 1st September 2011.

Read the BHA’s position statement on SRE .

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in theUK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state. The BHA contributes to debate on a wide range of ethical issues from stem cell research to sex education. The BHA is a member of the National Children’s Bureau Sex Education Forum (SEF) and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England.

Richy Thompson

Campaigns Officer (Faith Schools and Education)

British Humanist Association (BHA)

1 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6HD

Tel: 020 7462 4993

www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns

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British Humanist Association (BHA)

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The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.