MNHQ here: contribute to a debate on SRE

(12 Posts)
BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Oct-16 09:51:21

Hello all

We’ve been contacted by Brook, whose volunteers are leading a debate to discuss whether sex and relationships education should have statutory status.

This debate is supported by ‘DO…’ (a project funded by Durex) and the volunteers have gathered extensive evidence and used their own experiences to make their case.

The debate will take place on Thursday 10th November 2016 from 5-7pm at Google's Headquarters in Central London.The event will be co-hosted by Brook and the FPA. They currently have around 10 people confirmed, including a representative from the National Union of Teachers, a journalist, a professor of reproductive medicine, and hopefully an MP.

They would also like to invite a parent to join the discussion who is perhaps against mandatory SRE, or against SRE from a young age.

The format would be that each participant would speak for a couple of minutes just to introduce themselves and give an overview of their opinions, and then the chair and co-chair will moderate the debate itself.

They would happily cover train expenses within Greater London. If you’d be interested in the discussion, please add your name to this thread.

If you have any questions, do let us know and we’ll do our best to get answers for you.

Thanks
MNHQ

NickMyLipple Fri 28-Oct-16 21:39:58

Hi MNHQ

I would love to attend this debate - I am a school nurse student and the topic is very poignant.

I believe that using the word 'sex' is misleading when it comes to SRE and we should be teaching about safe relationships - consent, respect, love... these are so important and in my opinion, we do not focus enough on these values.

I appreciate I may not be the 'right' candidate to be sent on behalf on Mumsnet but please please please can you ask on my behalf if I can attend?!

Thanks smile

StealthPolarBear Sun 30-Oct-16 09:42:42

Fully support age appropriate comprehensive sre from primary.

ShoeEatingMonster Sun 30-Oct-16 20:02:55

who is perhaps against mandatory SRE, or against SRE from a young age

So they're looking for someone who's views fit their agenda? Very disappointing.

As a teacher and PSHE lead I am very proud SRE although agree with pp about use of the word sex. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that it isn't statutory and that some schools do a one off lesson about puberty just before the end of Y6. Our school teaches SRE from Y2 upwards in an age appropriate way. This should be statutory in all schools.

BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Nov-16 11:49:36

NickMyLipple

Hi MNHQ

I would love to attend this debate - I am a school nurse student and the topic is very poignant.

I believe that using the word 'sex' is misleading when it comes to SRE and we should be teaching about safe relationships - consent, respect, love... these are so important and in my opinion, we do not focus enough on these values.

I appreciate I may not be the 'right' candidate to be sent on behalf on Mumsnet but please please please can you ask on my behalf if I can attend?!

Thanks smile

Hi,

Thanks very much for your message - glad you're interested! I've asked Brook and they are looking into this. If they have space left, they would love to invite you. I will hopefully be able to update you on this by the end of the day.

BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Nov-16 11:52:46

ShoeEatingMonster

*who is perhaps against mandatory SRE, or against SRE from a young age*

So they're looking for someone who's views fit their agenda? Very disappointing.

As a teacher and PSHE lead I am very proud SRE although agree with pp about use of the word sex. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that it isn't statutory and that some schools do a one off lesson about puberty just before the end of Y6. Our school teaches SRE from Y2 upwards in an age appropriate way. This should be statutory in all schools.

Hi,

Thanks too for your reply - here's what Brook say:

'Thank you for your reply. Brook fully agrees that SRE should be compulsory in all schools and in order to make progress with its campaigning work Brook is very keen to hear the views of those who have concerns about their children receiving it.'

Hope this clears things up!

ShoeEatingMonster Wed 02-Nov-16 12:36:56

It does thanks! I had always assumed the Brook would be pro SRE!

NickMyLipple Wed 02-Nov-16 14:54:09

Thank you thank you thank you 😀😀😀

GreenAngelica Fri 04-Nov-16 05:49:18

100% support statutory age appropriate quality comprehensive SRE from primary upwards, with appropriate training and support for those providing it. (and can I recommend people to the work of Education for Choice also as part of that, for older kids.)

Successive Lab and Con govts have failed to implement statutory school SRE despite years of lobbying, which I think is pathetic. (Too scared of the objections/perceived electoral backlash to implement it. probably because they tend to get scared and stop listening as soon as they see the word 'sex' and 'school' in the same sentence, and so fail to understand the huge issues that come under 'relationships'. Or they DO understand the safeguarding benefits of school SRE for children, but are just politically more concerned about their own electability ..hmm

Getting back to this debate though, IME the parents who are opposed to SRE in schools, in general tend to hold views on SRE (or on the issues which the act of doing any kind of SRE with their child, would force the parent to address with the DC..) meaning that those are exactly the parents who DON'T provide a reasonable alternative to school SRE to their child at home.
That ultimately disbenefits their child and it can leave individual children very vulnerable. This is why school SRE must be statutory- and that status could help support its quality and uniformity across schools.

As such I don't think those 'opposing' parents' views should in general, be weighted equally to those who understand the evidence around the importance of informing children appropriately about relationships and their own bodies and autonomy etc. If Brook's event is being had from a perspective of 'what we know would actually help children and young people', that is.

If instead, the aim of Brook's discussion is about 'how to get parents who reject the premise of school SRE to engage', then you'd need more than one such parent on the panel to make it informative or constructive?

This objection can come from different parental viewpoints and obviously not all are the same, so there would need to be genuine and deeper engagement to find ways of bridging this divide. So probably not something you could achieve via a 'debate' format.

Otherwise this debate seems a bit like its preaching to the converted but including one token figure who resists the orthodoxy of 'school SRE is good'..?

Sorry if any of that sounds negative. I know that Brook do absolutely excellent work and I may have misunderstood the purpose of the debate.

LineyReborn Fri 04-Nov-16 06:09:51

I don't think it's possible to have just one parent who can represent all the reasons why some parents reject or have issues with existing SRE. There must be so many reasons and motivations.

Suppose a parent had some mild concerns, for example, about the age appropriateness and the wording of materials about sex and alcohol consumption in primary schools. Those mild but genuine concerns can't be sensibly represented 'represented' by someone with a religious agenda or a right wing nutter.

Just as someone with mild concerns couldn't represent a hardline religious standpoint across a number of different religions.

GreenAngelica Fri 04-Nov-16 08:38:10

Agree Liney.
If they want to make the case for statutory SRE, If I was them I wouldn't bother to state the case for the other side or put up a token objector or the panel- let those who oppose crack on lobbying for themselves.

Heaven knows they are successful enough at it already and with the advantage of lobbying within a society and media not particularly well engaged or motivated to understand SRE issues... (amongst many other issues adversely affecting children and women)

I think Brook could work with media and politicians to
a) make the case for the benefits of school SRE,
b) explain why if this isn't statutory we can't ensure those benefits are equally available to all kids at school and
c) produce local constituency opinion polling to demonstrate to each elected politician that their seats are NOT vulnerable over this issue, even if they might get a lively postbag from some local groups opposed.

Or if they can't afford polling just go for the common sense angle. Remind MPs that the vast majority of voters vote with other issues in mind than SRE in schools as the deciding factor. Especially in this political climate.

Then if there are constituencies where polling (or just local anecdotal knowledge) shows eg a large religious blocs who would oppose SRE in schools:
-then for the sake of the success of statutory SRE, Brook (and others too - eg FPA, because let's not distract Brook from their core mission of service provision- and both are a well known voice of reason in this area... ) should work strategically at local level.

SRE in schools supporters could engage further with local community leaders who oppose, to explain what SRE actually IS when done properly and what the benefits to children of doing it at school are (and the worrying risks to children of not doing it.)

Also worth noting that what the religious leaders say and do in very personal matters like SRE issues is not always what their followers who share that religion personally agree with, or adhere to themselves.

E.g. Many of us know of the Pope's stated views on what should happen around contraception and abortion, IVF or homosexuality which he states as part of being a good Catholic.
However many of us know know from experience that good Catholics often choose what to do for themselves in these very personal areas of their lives.

GreenAngelica Fri 04-Nov-16 08:54:15

Sorry autotypo up top para there:
I meant ON the panel, not OR the panel.

It's great Brook are having a panel event to advocate for these issues.

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