I’ve written to my MP this evening after receiving an email from THT regarding a campaign they are working on with the Sex Education Forum on the new science curriculum and the fact it is watering down of sex education contained within it. The public consultation ends 16th April so please email your MP asap!
I added a little personal background to the form:
I’m not just sending this email because I believe that sex education is important, I’m sending it as I already believe I suffered as a poor result of the standards of sex education when I myself was growing up during school in the later 1990s and early 2000s. In 2009 I was diagnosed HIV positive and I have been living with the illness ever since. I strongly believe that education is perhaps the most important means of sending out a message to thousands of young adults that they need to practice safe sex, HIV is on the increase in the UK and we need to fight the virus from all directions, advancements are being made in medicine but we are still a long way off from a cure. The younger people start to learn about it the more knowledgeable they are likely to become in the subject as they grow up and are taught more about the subject.
Please address my concerns about the Government’s draft science curriculum.
Broad sex and relationships education (SRE) is still not part of the statutory curriculum. The only statutory sex education in schools is what is contained in science. It is therefore vital that the science curriculum covers the basic knowledge that children and young people need to ensure safeguarding, health and well-being. However, the draft curriculum fails to include essential teaching, including on body parts, puberty and sexual health.
I was pleased that the Government’s recent ‘Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England’ plans to build an open and honest culture about relationships and sex and includes ambitions for SRE, including for all children and young people to receive good quality SRE. The Department for Education also recognises the importance of SRE. However, the proposed changes to the curriculum would make the Government’s ambitions more difficult to achieve.
I would appreciate you asking the Schools Minister, Elizabeth Truss, to make the following specific changes to the draft science curriculum:
• Use clearer, more open language so that teachers, parents and pupils know what will be taught.
• Include puberty in the primary science curriculum and remove the unhelpful proposed guidance note stating ‘they [pupils] should not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs’.
• Ensure children can name external genitalia in Key Stage 1 to support safeguarding.
• Retain current content on sexual health and disease, contraception, and adolescence in Key Stage 3.
Thank you for your support on this important issue, and I look forward to receiving your response.
Should you wish to know more about my life living with HIV please read my blog at http://www.alexsparrowhawk.com.