Petitioner: Jack Fletcher on behalf of Sexpression:UK
27 June 2014
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce comprehensive sex and relationship education (SRE) into the Scottish Education Curriculum and make it statutory for all schools to teach. I recommend that SRE should build upon current education guidelines and include additional criteria to keep up with technological advances. In providing non-judgemental accurate information in these areas, the children and young people of Scotland can have the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions for themselves.
30 September 2014: The Committee took evidence from Jack Fletcher, and Rebecca Ryce, Sexpression:UK. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, the Educational Institute of Scotland, a cross-section of local authorities and to seek information on the policies and their effectiveness in other EU countries. Link to Official Report 30 September 2014 (509KB pdf)
Below: Jack Fletcher and Rebecca Ryce at the meeting on 30 September 2014
9 December 2014: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that the petitioners are supportive of the Scottish Government’s forthcoming revised sex and relationship education (SRE) guidance; the Scottish Government has given a commitment to raise the profile of SRE when it publishes its revised guidance; Education Scotland will be tasked with monitoring and assessing the implementation and delivery of the Government’s revised SRE guidance by local authorities, and the submissions received by the Committee were supportive of the current non-mandatory provision of SRE. Link to Official Report 9 December 2014
I am a member of Sexpression:UK the only youth organisation delivering high quality comprehensive SRE in our local areas. We deliver non-judgemental information in a small group discussion format. Feedback revealed that 80-90% of our pupils ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they felt better prepared to make decisions in the future regarding their sexual health and relationships. Education is key to empowering the children and young people of Scotland to making healthier choices in their lives. Scotland should be following other European nations in providing statutory SRE, with guidance documents such as by the Sex Education Forum, Brook and PSHE Association are great in explaining the importance of comprehensive SRE (http://www.brook.org.uk/images/brook/professionals/documents/page_content/SRE/SRE_Supplementary_Advice_2014.pdf).
Without schools providing reliable information many young people will turn to other resources on the internet which can have incorrect information. They also turn to friends for information and this can pereptuate myths of sexual health and relationship ideals, but also add to peer pressure issues such as 'sexting'. SRE does not make people more promiscuous, but actually have less partners and more likely to use contraception in their first sexual encounter, which is also at an older age than those that do not receive SRE. We are denying children the right to comprehensive education that is needed for all the relationships they encounter in their lives. As a result of more widespread education, Scotland should also see a reduction in sexual harassment cases and in the burden of sexual health issues on the NHS. Parents need to be involved in SRE too and a basis of knowledge gained from school is crucial to making sure no child is left without knowing information crucial to their personal and inter-personal development. With the passing of the Eqaul Marriage Bill, we should be teaching about LGBT issues and creating a more inclusive society.