It is disappointing that the Tories voted against it at committee stage this week, but the issue will be brought up again.
It is a demand supported by parents, teachers and now children themselves.
Seven in 10 children in England say they would feel safer if they had age-appropriate classes on the subject.
The new poll of 11-15 year olds for the children’s charity Barnardo’s reinforces long-standing calls from Labour to better support our schools to deliver age-appropriate Sex and Relationships Education as part of a revamped Personal Social Health and Education curriculum to help children and young people content with life.
For instance, around three children in every classroom has a diagnosable mental health problem, yet we still have a long way to go to break down the stigma that exists in mental health.
The rising level of mental distress amongst young people is part of a ‘ticking time bomb’ of issues facing young people that the Tories are failing to tackle.
For instance, there is a shocking 1,200 per cent increase in reports of under 16s ‘sexting’ over the last two years. Since 2010, the number of police incidents involving children sharing explicit images or messages has soared by almost 7,000 per-cent. More than nine in 10 children surveyed online by Barnado’s said it was important for them to understand the dangers of being online so they can stay safe.
Yet, the guidance for schools on Sex and Relationships Education has not been updated since 2000, before the ‘smartphone generation’ were even born. It is currently not compulsory for schools to deliver PSHE or SRE lessons.
This week the government admitted that it needed to do more and promised action when the Bill comes back to Parliament shortly. It must take this opportunity to change the law so that all children have information and knowledge they need to stay healthy and safe.