Today [13th. September] the Women and Equalities Select Committee issued its report on Sexual harassment and violence in schools.
The key recommendations from this all-party committee read as follows;
“The committee urges the government to act now to protect and empower a generation of children and young people’
1 The government must use the new Education Bill to ensure every school takes appropriate action to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Schools will need support from Government to achieve this, including clear national guidance.
2 OFSTED and Independent Schools Inspectorate must assess schools on how well they are recording, monitoring, preventing and responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence.
3 Every child at primary and secondary school must have access to high quality ,age appropriate relationships education delivered by well-trained individuals . This can only be achieved by making sex and relationships education [SRE} a statutory subject,investing in teacher training and local third party sector specialist support.
The Committee thus became the fourth select committee in just over a year to make such a call. This is probably the most radical yet because it calls for ALL youngsters in ALL schools to receive this education, and also emphasises the importance of specialist delivery by well trained experts.
The government has so far effectively ignored these calls despite the overwhelming support among professional groups, students and parents in support of them [See previous blog]
In addition Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, is having her third attempt at introducing a Private Members Bill on the subject-the previous two having run out of parliamentary time before their passage could be completed.
It reads as follows
“Personal, Social Health and Economic Education [Statutory Requirement] Bill 2016-7
“A Bill to require the Secretary of State to provide that Personal Social Health and Economic education [PSHE] is a statutory requirement for all state funded schools; for PSHE to include Sex and Relationships Education [SRE] and education on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial and continuing teacher education and guidance on on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education, and for connected purposes .
This bill had its formal first reading on 4th July and is due for its second reading-when there should be a debate on Friday 20 Jan 2017.
Finally there is a continuing petition on Change.Org entitled “Education Secretary Justine Greening; Make Sex and Relationships Education [SRE] compulsory in all schools.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
1 Lobby your MP to add a provision for mandatory SRE in all schools to the proposed education bill
2 Lobby your MP to turn up and support Caroline Lucas’ Private Bill on Jan 2oth
3 Sign the petition.
The Hull and East Riding LabourLGBT Network is also doing its part. Today [15th September], we have posted petitions on this subject to Gavin Shurker, the Labour Co-Operative MP for Luton South who is on the committee. The signatures were collected at Hull Pride in 2013, and it is thought that this would be a good opportunity for us to put all those signatures to good use, by directly supporting the committee’s campaign.
The time has come for one more push on this and we can win. no government can ignore public opinion for ever
Colin Livett September 2016