NUT Conference 2017
17 April 2017
Commenting after the debate on Motion 41, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Government’s proposal on plans to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all secondary schools, and to consult about what support schools need, is a positive one. There is a consensus within the profession that SRE should be statutory at all key stages because of the benefits for children and young people. The NUT has been at the heart of the campaign to achieve the proper status for this vital subject.
“The goal must be a high quality and age-appropriate SRE across all key stages which fits the complexity of young people’s lives today. Implementation must ensure that, in primary education, the SRE/PSHE curriculum covers the whole range of issues, not just relationships.
“Schools require the support, resources and authority to ensure that SRE/PSHE is taught to all young people, irrespective of their religious background. Engaging parents with SRE/PSHE content and explaining its purpose is the best way to ensure a successful partnership between schools and parents.
“It is high time that PSHE and SRE – including LGBT+ education – is recognised as an essential part of the school curriculum. It is important for a modern forward-thinking society to understand and embrace differences within our communities. Schools are ideally placed to do this. This will only be effective, however, if teachers are given high quality training and there is time and space in the school day to deliver it.
“This is the 21st century. Children and young people, unlike previous generations, get so much information from the internet. Some of it will be useful; a lot of it will be misinformed. Surely it is not beyond the wit of Government to understand and accept the importance of giving our children access to well-balanced, age-appropriate information on matters of SRE, including sexuality. The alternative is many pupils being isolated, bullied or misinformed and, for many, there is an impact on health and wellbeing that can last well beyond school years.”
The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf