Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s sexual health service has welcomed news today that a consultation has been launched to try to revamp out of date guidelines on what children should be taught in sex and relationship lessons.
The consultation follows news earlier this year that the government is to make sex education compulsory in all schools in England. Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening said that government legislation will be introduced that will ensure all children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships and children in secondary schools will be given age-appropriate lessons about sex.
Amy Nolan, Service Manager for the Contraception and Sexual Health (CaSH) service at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the move. She said:
“We are delighted by this announcement and consultation. Our CaSH service is well placed to support schools with this development. The CaSH service for Lancashire Care Foundation Trust already has established working relationships with schools across the County and in Blackburn with Darwen. It is these partnerships that will be developed specifically to support schools where required to introduce age appropriate sex education from the age of four.”
Helen Marshall, Brook Chief Executive, said:
“Brook has long been at the forefront of campaigning for mandatory sex and relationships education in schools, and is absolutely thrilled to witness this change in policy. We have been working closely with young people for more than 50 years, and currently deliver SRE to 12% of UK secondary schools. Time and time again young people tell us that the sex and relationships education they receive in school (if any) does not prepare them to navigate the challenges of the world around them.
“SRE is essential to help drive positive sexual health messages and provide young people with the skills and confidence to explore healthy relationships and sexuality. SRE should be age appropriate and relevant to young people’s complex and fast changing environment. We believe that good quality SRE educates young people about sexual harassment, online bullying, consent and pornography. However, it also needs to be broader than just warning young people of risks, and needs to include topics such as pleasure and healthy relationships.”
Lancashire Care’s CaSH service provides an all age sexual health service in Blackburn with Darwen and a under 25s’ sexual health service in the areas covered by Lancashire County Council in conjunction with Brook, the young people's sexual health and wellbeing charity.
The service is also supported by a Community Education (CeSH) Team which provides sexual health promotion services in schools, colleges and universities and communities. The service was rated ‘Good’ following a full CQC inspection in September 2016.
The government announcement follows discussions in Parliament that the current curriculum introduced in 2000 is out of date and does not reflect the dangers faced by young people today. As a result, all schools across England are now bound by the same obligation to include lessons on the dangers of online pornography, sexting and sexual harassment.
To contact your local CaSH team and book an appointment or find out about our ‘walk ins’ please call 01772 401140. There are clinics in various locations and different session times across Lancashire.