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Sex Education

Volume 546: debated on Monday 18 June 2012

9. What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of sex education in schools; and if he will make a statement. (111840)

In 2010, Ofsted reported that the overall effectiveness of personal, social, health and economic education was good or outstanding in three quarters of the schools it visited. Sex education is usually provided through PSHE, and we want to make that good practice the norm. Our review of PSHE has also looked at the evidence, enabling us to consider how we can improve the quality and effectiveness of sex education.

Has the Minister seen the public opinion survey, conducted by Angus Reid, which shows that 67% of people in this country believe that parents should be primarily responsible for their children’s sex education, and that only 17% believe that sex education should be taught in schools to children below the age of 10? Given that the evidence from around the world shows that the benefits system has a bigger impact on levels of teenage and unwanted pregnancy than does sex education in schools, will the Minister ensure that inappropriate and explicit material is not used for teaching in our schools, particularly our primary schools?

It is important that the sex and relationship education materials used in schools should be age-appropriate, and that schools should consult parents about the materials and the approach that they take to SRE. It is also important for parents to know that they have the right to withdraw their children from those lessons. I recently met representatives from Channel 4 and the BBC to discuss concerns raised by hon. Members about particular DVD materials. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also considering whether sex education DVDs should be subject to British Board of Film Classification age-rating.