The SRE Guidance (2000) what they really meant to say when they wrote it….

I’ve already blogged about how the SRE Guidance still being in force possibly contravenes the Equality Act (2010). In reading for my masters I came across this in Epstein, O’Flynn and Telford- Silenced Sexualities in Schools and universities (2003) who pointed out the Department for Education and Employment emanated a sense of anxiety from the SRE Guidance and that its subtext could be paraphrased thus:

“People throughout their life-course, need to learn to control their bodies and (sexual) morality, We are concerned this currently doesn’t happen. Sex and Relationship education, therefore must privilege a particular form of marriage that is heterosexual, monogamous and reproductive. It must teach that stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care are available only (or, at least, primarily within the bounds of a legally binding marriage contact recognised by the state in late capitalist Judeo-Christian countries. It is concerned with biological differences between males and females. Reproduction and the prevention of pregnancy and disease. It should discourage sexual activity, except within legal marriages for reproduction and should not mention the possibility of pleasure (which might be the interpreted as the promotion of sexual activity). Only non-heterosexual people have a sexual orientation, and this maybe tolerated but not celebrated. Forms of heterosexuality that do not follow the marriage prescription are also undesirable. In other words these non-normative versions of sexuality should remain silent or at the very least, not too noisy.”


This version would make me giggle if it wasn’t so depressing that it relates to a  document schools are STILL expected to pay due regard to when providing sex and relationships education, despite it being 13 years out of date, despite it being discriminatory in tone.



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