About the campaign
The Sex Education Forum is campaigning for statutory sex and relationships education (SRE) as part of an entitlement to statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.
Statutory status would allow SRE to be treated the same as other subjects – with teachers getting the training they need and enough time being allocated in the time-table for this vital subject to address real life issues including respectful relationships, domestic violence and consent.
Since launching SRE - It's my right in June 2014 hundreds of people have written to their MP and MP candidates through our campaign to highlight why SRE matters to them and to ask their MPs to represent them.
2016 so far...
- Vera Baird QC calls on the government (01 August 2016) to make sex education compulsory in all schools, at both primary and secondary levels - see article in the guardian. The Sex Education Forum and NCB welcome this call.
- A House of Commons Library briefing provides an overview of the legislation and guidance currently in place regarding SRE in schools. It also documents the extraordinary history of the campaign efforts to make SRE statutory. Updated version published 26 July 2016 on Parliament website.
Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan calls on colleagues to put squeamishness aside and listen to the views of young people and do more to equip children to deal with online life, including more explicit teaching about sex and online pornography. Article in the Telegraph, 28 June 2016.
- In June 2016, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child calls for introduction of mandatory SRE in the UK, and recommends that such education should provide age-appropriate information on: confidential sexual and reproductive health-care services; contraceptives; prevention of sexual abuse or exploitation, including sexual bullying; available support in cases of such abuse and exploitation; and sexuality, including that of LGBT children’. Further details and Sex Education Forum response.
- Updated Government safeguarding guidance (May 2016) falls short of requiring that all schools teach about safeguarding, but strengthens the wording of the guidance in relation to teaching about safeguarding. Read the new guidance wording.
- A letter in the Times (27 April 2016) explains that if all schools in England become academies none of them will be required to teach basic SRE. It goes on to say “With overwhelming support for SRE from teachers, parents, young people, child protection and health organisations and MPs themselves, the government must act without delay to require all schools, including academies, to provide high quality SRE”. The letter was signed by Anna Feuchtwang, CEO, NCB; Peter Wanless, CEO, NSPCC; Janet Davies, Chief Executive & General Secretary, Royal College Nursing; Professor Neena Modi, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; Javed Khan, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s; Dr David N Jones, Chair, Association of Independent LSCB Chairs; Professor Cathy Warwick CBE, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives; Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health; Professor Adam Balen, Chair of The British Fertility Society; Dr Chris Wilkinson, President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare; Professor John R Ashton CBE, President, Faculty of Public Health UK; Dr David Richmond, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
- Maria Miller MP changes her stance on statutory SRE and expresses her support for legislation to be changed. See article in the Telegraph (12 March 2016).
- The voices of 2000+ young people are represented in the 'Heads or Tails' report published by the Sex Education Forum, which finds that 50% of young people did NOT learn at primary school about how to get help if they were sexually abused. Launched at Parliamentary event on 20 January hosted by Caroline Nokes MP.
- Article published in the Telegraph reports that Prime Minister, David Cameron blocked statutory SRE (11 February 2016)
- Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, replies to letter from Chairs of Select Committees making no committment to statutory SRE or PSHE. Read the letter on Parliament website, and read the response from the Sex Education Forum and NCB.
- The Chairs of Education, Health, Home Affairs, and Business, Innovation, and Skills Committees joined forces (07 January 2016) to call on the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, to move towards PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) becoming statutory in all schools. Read the letter signed by Neil Carmichael MP, Sarah Wollaston MP, Keith Vaz MP and Iain Wright MP on the Parliament website.
- The Government publishes their response to the Education Select Committee recommendations on SRE and PSHE (16 July 2015).
- A 10 Minute Rule Motion by Caroline Lucas on PSHE was presented in the Commons on 15 July 2015 and was pushed to a vote which was supported with 183 votes to 44. The following Conservative MPs voted in support: Chrispin Blunt MP, Peter Bottomley MP, Ben Howlett MP, Jonathan Lord MP, Caroline Nokes MP, Andrew Percy MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Graham Stuart MP, Sarah Wollaston MP, William Wragg MP. All Labour, Green and Lib Dem MPs voted in support. Read our statement. The PSHE Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 20 January 2017.
- The Government is due to provide a full response to the Education Select Committee recommendation. Please write to your MP using our campaign email template asking for their support in calling for statutory SRE.
- In the run up to the General Election we invited people to ask their MP candidates for their views on SRE. 333 people wrote to their MP candidates in April 2015. See campaign FAQs to understand the current status of SRE.
- We invited people to email their MP asking for their support for two Bills which were due to be presented in Parliament on February 27th 2015. As a result, 691 letters were sent to MPs. Thank you to all who took part and to NAT for hosting for campaign.
- Education Select Committee inquiry into PSHE and SRE publishes report recommending statutory PSHE and SRE (17 February 2015). See more recommendations and our comments.
- A letter in the Times signed by 5 national public health organisations (RCN, FPH, ADPH, RCPCH & BASHH) calls on all political parties to support statutory SRE, saying 'it is a basic responsibility of government to protect and inform young people about their bodies and health' (16 February 2015).
- National Union of Students surveys 2500 students and finds that 90% of respondents back statutory SRE - find out more about the survey findings and read the NUS news story (29 January 2015).
- The final session of the Education Select Committee inquiry into PSHE and SRE takes place on 17 December 2014, with Minister Nick Gibb giving evidence for the government.
- A letter from four teaching unions published in the Times (30 October 2014) supports our 'SRE - It's my right' campaign, stating that 'education should prepare children for adult life, and curriculums should promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils - including teaching about sex and relationships'.
- Campaigners made their support for Caroline Lucas' Bill to make PSHE including SRE statutory clear via social media activity leading up to the scheduled reading on 24 October using the hashtag #PSHEBill - the Bill has been re-scheduled for Second Reading on 27 February 2015.
- 10 Minute Rule Motion by Diana Johnson MP on sex and relationships education was presented in the Commons on 21 October 2014 (see Hansard). The second reading will be on 27 February 2015.
- The first oral evidence session of the Education Select Committee inquiry into PSHE and SRE took place on 21 October 2014 and is available to view on Parliament TV. Witnesses included Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum.
- National Union of Students, UK Youth and the UK Youth Parliament back the 'SRE - It's my Right' campaign - see NUS news story
- Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education reported backing End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition factsheet designed to support good quality SRE in the Daily Mail - 27 September 2014
- LGBT organisations, campaigners and media back 'SRE - It's my right' and call for compulsory inclusive sex and relationships education - see comment by Peter Tatchell and the full text of the open letter
- Labour Party support for SRE for all Key Stages - reported in the guardian - 8 September 2014
- Liberal Democrats make manifesto commitment to statutory SRE - announced 26 August 2014
- We invited supporters to email your MP to call for their parties’ commitment to statutory SRE and there is a petition for young people under 18 to sign. Since 6 June over 1300 people have emailed their MP through this campaign.
- Launching the campaign, a letter, signed by members of the Sex Education Forum is printed in the guardian (06 June 2014).
Our campaign messages explain what we mean by good quality SRE and a set of FAQs explain the current status of the subject and what needs to change. We have a set of parliamentary briefings available to download, which explain how making SRE statutory will build on help each of the main political parties achieve their ambition for better SRE:
For young people wanting to take campaigning to the next level check these young campaigner tips for getting the message out about 'SRE - It's my right'. You can also read our campaign media release issued to on 6 June 2014.
Support our campaign!
To carry out this campaign we urgently need your financial support. We currently receive no funding from government. Will you help to fund our work? Your donation can be gift-aided.
SRE in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
We believe all children and young people should get high quality SRE, not only in England but in every part of the UK. However, education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter. Responsibility for SRE in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland lies with the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
If you want SRE to be statutory in your nation, please contact your local Parliament or Assembly Member. If you would like any assistance to write a letter, or if you would like a draft letter, please get in contact with the Terrence Higgins Trust at: email@example.com
Our supporters and partners
You can see a full list of signatories to our campaign on our supporters page.
We would like to thank Marguerite Espin de la Vega, Lottie Crumbleholme and Stephanie Dunk for designing our campaign logo and the Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust for working in partnership with us to run the e-campaign actions for 'SRE - It's my right'.