Alex Cunningham has recently heard from young people about what Sex and Relationships Education is really like in 2016, and has pledged his support for Terrence Higgins Trust’s campaign to make the subject mandatory.
At an event in Parliament, the Stockton North MP met with young people aged between 16 and 19 who shared their experiences of sex education at school. The students highlighted why, in an age of social media, the internet, and equal marriage, sex education must go beyond labelling body parts and basic biology.
After hearing several young people describe how they had been let down by infrequent, low quality and non-LGBT inclusive Sex and Relationships Education, the Labour MP signed a pledge backing the campaign by HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, for compulsory age-appropriate Sex and Relationships Education in all schools.
The event was part of the campaign to End The Silence on Sex and Relationships Education, with the charity having released findings last month that showed 75 per cent of young people were not taught about consent and 95 per cent were not taught about LGBT relationships.
“It was fantastic to hear first-hand from young people visiting the House of Commons why we need compulsory Sex and Relationships Education in all schools. It’s really important that the next generation, who have access to a wealth of information on the internet, are prepared for the realities of the world today – and this includes teaching them about consent, LGBT relationships, STIs and HIV, not just reproduction and body parts.”
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We’re very grateful to Alex for supporting our campaign to end the silence on Sex and Relationships Education, and for meeting with this inspiring group of young people. We must make SRE mandatory in all schools if we are to tackle issues such as homophobia, bullying, unhealthy relationships and poor sexual health. Quality Sex and Relationships Education will help students make positive and informed decisions, and to have healthy relationships with themselves and others – wherever they go to school, and whatever their sexuality.”