My MP replies re. abstinence education

Hurrah. I think my MP is fab. Not only does he share my hatred of local urban gulls but he responds to letters extremely efficiently.  (I just emailed him again today about the abortion debate- hope he replies soon.  You should think about doing that too here oh and if you want help writing a letter to your MP re. abstinence ed then you can see that here)

My letter from my MP sumarised the points made from Nick Gibb’s (Minister of State for schools) letter in response, but he also included Nick Gibb’s letter. So to avoid repetition I am going to include the key excepts from the letter from Nick Gibb:

“We agree that is it important that all children should have high quality, age-appropriate SRE at school.  There are no plans to specify the teaching of abstinence for any age group; instead we want to continue to trust schools to handle this appropriately and sensitively”

“Although we have no plans to legislate to increase the level of central presciption, we do want to improve the quality of teaching in this area”

“We will continue to encourage all primary and secondary schools to provide a high quality and broad programme of sex and relationships education”

(letter also mentioned importance of parents and upcoming PSHE review but points above were most relevant).

So um hmmmmmm- Hurrah re. no plans for abstinence (and lets hope Dorries bill fails at the next reading) but I’m sorry but there is an element of passing the buck again dear government. You want schools to improve but you won’t give them help to do this?! You trust their judgement?! Is that so if it happens to go wonky and the daily mail step in for their usual lynching that the government can be distant and safe?  Is it because sex education is seen as such a shocking and thorny issue that a government needs to distance itself from it especially when it is a government hated as much as yours? (sorry that um is a personal view of mine and um I try to be apolitical in this blog but sometimes I get a bit cross!)

Via twitter I am constantly asked for help with sex ed as it is such a low priority for schools. I always help as much as I can (and this is unpaid!).  My previous job was working as a sex and relationships education adviser for a London borough- I had 18 secondary schools and 65 primaries to look after.  Unfortunately as there was only one of me on a part time contract much of the work focused on the secondaries although we did as much as we could for the primaries too.  Then due to schools becoming academies- I lost 5 of my schools- my funding wouldn’t cover working with them.  But these schools were still often in desperate need of help and support. Academies and free schools are going to lead to disintegration of local education authorities – but schools simply don’t work as islands. How can we share best practice and learn from each other?

Often local education authorities are lucky if they have someone like me and sadly due to the cuts we are becoming an extremely rare breed indeed.  Without a government leading on a drive to improve sex and relationship education then local authorities and schools are simply not going to see it as a priority & so the patchy provision continues or even worsens.  I have seen the most outstanding SRE to the most awful bad practice examples and everything in between. I am sorry to say that the majority of SRE I saw was mediocre at best (although obviously dramatically improved once they had worked with me! 😉 .  This is BECAUSE OF A LACK OF FOCUS AND DIRECTION FROM GOVERNMENT, LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND SCHOOLS, it is going to get worse not better unless something is done.

So um yeah I’m in a ranty mood- so I am off to write down my thoughts for the PSHE review.  I suggest you do too! Click here.


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