Beyond Biology Campaign Launch

83 per cent of parents of school-age children think that schools should teach young people about the emotional aspects of sex and relationships as well as the biological facts, according to a new survey commissioned by the Sex Education Forum, the national authority on sex and relationships education.

The survey, carried out for the Forum by GfK NOP earlier this year, also found that 77 per cent of parents think schools should be required to provide comprehensive sex and relationships education as part of the national curriculum.

The findings support a call from the Sex Education Forum for personal, social and health education (PSHE) - which includes sex and relationships - to be compulsory. Although under current legislation schools have to teach the biological aspects of sex, there is no statutory requirement to provide PSHE, which typically includes learning about relationships and the emotional aspects of sex, as well as life skills such as decision making, managing peer pressure and understanding risky behaviour.

'There is a clear groundswell of support for making PSHE compulsory within schools,' said Anna Martinez, coordinator of the Sex Education Forum. 'Both young people and their parents have repeatedly told us that they want better school-based sex and relationships education, which meets their needs now and in the future.

'Under the current system the provision of PSHE is patchy, and in many schools it may be delivered by under-trained, poorly prepared teachers. This can have a serious impact on the decisions children and young people make in their lives, from becoming sexually active before they are ready to failing to understand the risk of unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

'We believe that if we are to support the next generation to become competent, healthy young adults, sex and relationships education within PSHE needs to be statutory, not an optional extra.'
 
The Sex Education Forum plans a year-long programme to promote its call for statutory PSHE. Activities include a dedicated minisite, Beyond Biology, which includes facts and figures on sex and relationships education, and the Forum is encouraging individuals and organisations to sign up to its call for action via the site.

Ends.

Notes for editors:

1. The Beyond Biology site can be reached at http://partner.ncb.org.uk/Page.asp?originx_1774ev_54972289348984e13e_200610235250r

2. GfK NOP carried out the survey for the Sex Education Forum between 9 February and 28 March 2006. 1307 parents of 0-16 year olds were interviewed using a nationally representative sample of parents throughout Great Britain. Weighting was applied to the data to bring it in line with national profiles.

3. The Sex Education Forum, which is based at the National Children's Bureau (NCB), is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). It believes that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and is working with nearly 50 member organisations - including religious, children's, parents and governor, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit SEF.

4. NCB promotes the voices, interests and well-being of all children and young people across every aspect of their lives.  As an umbrella body for the children's sector in England and Northern Ireland, we provide essential information on policy, research and best practice for our members and other partners. For further information visit NCB.

Contact
For further information about this release, please contact the NCB Media Office - Clare Quarrell, Anna Tombs or Clare Lilley Tel: +44(0)20 7843 6044/6045/6047 - Email: media@ncb.org.uk