Sex & Relationship Education – House of Lords Vote Jan 2014

It is disappointing to say the least, that the House of Lords voted against Statutory Sex and Relationship Education on 28th January 2014.  Change must be made to childrens education on relationships and sex, not least, if they are to avoid being the perpetrators of such acts. Despite the vote, nothing has changed in terms of what needs to happen.

At some point, and hopefully soon, change must come. To save suffering, to save lives…..

Press Coverage: Also interesting to note, that the vote was absent from the BBC News and Politics page that day, and the following morning, though the Lobbying Bill and Barclays closing 400 branches was worthy enough. It was also absent from the Daily Mail Online, and hard to find in the Guardian Online.

I blogged my own thoughts here: Why we need to change the curriculum

The brilliant EVAW Coalition – Web: or Twitter:@EVAWhd produced this document ahead of the Hose of Lords vote….

and also, on the day, the following was spoken in the Upper Chamber…..

Transcript of House Of Lords Reading 28/01/14:

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, put out this statement about the vote in the Lords on sex education ……

The House of Lords had a chance to make a real difference to the lives of young people by voting yes to compulsory sex and relationship education in English schools.

One in three teenage girls say they’ve had to put up with unwanted groping or harassment at school, and one in six teenagers in relationships say they’ve experienced sexual abuse. Urgent action is needed to change attitudes and behaviour to prevent growing violence in teenage relationships.

Compulsory sex and relationship education is key to this. Children and teenagers must be taught zero tolerance of violence in relationships and the importance of respect and sexual consent. Given the growing exposure teenagers have to sexual images on the web, statutory guidance for teachers must be updated for the internet too.

Despite overwhelming support from parents, teachers, young people and women’s organisations, the Government is opposing these changes. The House of Lords should show them they are wrong to turn their backs on the next generation by voting yes to compulsory sex and relationship education.


Peers debated a Labour amendment to the children and families bill to make sex and relationship education compulsory in state schools. Lady Jones, a shadow education minister, opened the debate for Labour. In a blog, she explained why she was backing the move.

Our amendments to the children and families bill address the growing and worrying evidence of the sexualisation of children, with associated patterns of abuse. The widespread access to the internet, social media and smart phones is fundamentally changing the way young people relate to each other and girls, in particular, are suffering as a result.

A recent Cardiff University study showed that even primary school children were becoming obsessed with body image and appearance; many of the girls had boyfriends and they used the language of ‘fancying’,’ dating’ and ‘dumping’. However, many also experienced being passed around among boys and were subject to coercive or controlling behaviours. Other studies of teenagers showed sexual abuse and physical harassment becoming commonplace in schools …

Our amendments would ensure that the sex and relationship guidance issued to schools was updated to confront the impact of the internet and social media. More fundamentally, they would, for the first time, require SRE to be taught as a foundation subject in all key stages, in all state funded schools, in an accurate, balanced and age appropriate way. Pupils’ religious and cultural backgrounds would be taken into account, and there would be a parental opt out for pupils under 15. The emphasis of the teaching would be about the complex emotional rather than physical aspects of relationships, and would also include information on same sex relationships, sexual violence, domestic violence and active consent.



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