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The new Sex Education Forum: where next?

14 April 2021

Lucy Emmerson is Chief Executive of the Sex Education Forum. 

I am delighted to be writing this as the Chief Executive of the new independent Sex Education Forum. On 1 April we officially became an independent charity - the culmination of a year-long process led by the new Board of Trustees.

In her introductory blog post, Chair of the Board, Alison Hadley OBE set out the strategic vision for the charity, which will be rooted in the strong relationships we have with our members and partners. 

As Chief Executive, I will be focused on overseeing the day-to-day running of the charity and ensuring our members and partners continue to receive everything they would expect from the Sex Education Forum, including high-quality resources and the latest policy developments. 

It is such an important year for RSE in England, with all schools required to be teaching the curriculum this year and fully compliant with the Government RSHE guidance by September. We know many schools are already up and running with RSE and despite the many challenges the pandemic has presented for educators, they have shown to be real superheroes by ensuring pupils still receive vital information from RSE lessons. But the key to statutory RSE will be that all children and young people can access a developmental curriculum, which addresses the issues that are pressing and relevant for them in a timely and inclusive way. 

Sex Education Forum is uniquely placed to support educators in this, and to mark the new chapter for the organisation, we’re offering a free taster membership until June. As a member or partner of the Sex Education Forum, you will get access to our digital library of quality resources and discounted rates for our training workshops. There’s no obligation to stay with us but we hope you will. 

Sign up for our free taster membership here. 

Hundreds of teachers, school staff and youth practitioners have signed up for our membership taster already, joining our growing community of educators, academics, and RSE experts. A hallmark of the Sex Education Forum community is the mix of practitioners, policy-makers and researchers that we bring together. If you are involved directly or indirectly in providing RSE then please join us!  

The summer term is about to start, and we have a series of webinars to support schools with every step of the RSE journey and new courses for experienced RSE and PSHE education leads. 

Parental consultation about RSE is an activity that all schools are now required to carry out, and it can be just a little daunting. Our first webinar of the term focuses on practical methods for consulting with parents and provides resources and tips to take a step-by-step approach. This is one of my favourite webinars to facilitate, and I look forward to interacting remotely with colleagues from schools across the country and discussing your questions. 
Practical advice on providing participatory and inclusive RSE is a thread that runs throughout all our training, and we have a number of specialist courses to support mainstream and special schools in meeting the needs of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs. 
Stay tuned for details of our annual summer event which is always a highlight in our calendar with an exciting mix of speakers. All our events are built around the needs of RSE educators and all our members and partners can book at a discounted rate. 

You can see our latest events here.

We begin our journey as an independent charity at a time of renewed interest in the urgent need for good quality RSE at school and home. Sadly, this interest has been prompted in response to the death of Sarah Everard and new reports of abuse in schools. It’s vital that discussions on RSE are grounded in the latest evidence. For example, the research is very clear that RSE is more effective when explicit attention is given to gender and power in relationships.  In the last weeks, Sex Education Forum has made a number of comments in the media on RSE, including on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC television news, BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, The Times, and The Observer. 

These tragic events underline the importance of getting RSE right for every child and young person in England, as well as ensuring that parents and carers are fully involved too. To tackle these issues, it’s crucial that we work together.

We remain committed to monitoring the implementation of statutory RSHE to ensure that it delivers for all children and young people. 

I am excited to work with you all in this new era for the Sex Education Forum.

Lucy Emmerson

Chief Executive
Sex Education Forum

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