At greater risk of abuse

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If all schools in England become academies, as this Government intends, none of them will be required to teach basic sex and relationships education (SRE).

Currently, only local authority-maintained schools have to teach about puberty, human reproduction, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

As these schools are phased out, no child or young person will be guaranteed an education that includes factually correct and age-appropriate information about their health and wellbeing.

Evidence clearly shows that good quality sex and relationships education reduces unwanted pregnancy, early and coerced first sex, as well as resulting in earlier disclosures of child sexual abuse.

With overwhelming support for sex and relationships education from teachers, parents, young people, child protection and health organisations, and MPs themselves, the Government must act to require all schools, including academies, to provide SRE.

The alternative would be to leave the next generation of children dependent on the internet to help them understand sex and at greater risk of abuse and ill-health.

Steve Oversby,

Director,

Barnardo’s East Region,

C/o Barkingside,

Ilford.