Call for compulsory sex education
Students at Notre Dame School in Southwark have called for the government to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory.
Around 100 youngsters and delegates attended a conference recently at the school, organised by Peabody, to discuss increasing access to education on forming healthy relationships and help in understanding and questioning what consent means in a digital age.
Some of the attendees at the conference, above (Gudrun Burnet is second left)
The young people had an opportunity to showcase their campaign work, and attend workshops delivered by organisations including The Schools Consent Project and London Citizens.
This is part of a project funded by Erasmus+, which gives young people a chance to take part in master classes, organise events, and influence politicians and decision makers on the issues that are most important to them.
Rosemary Riafaat (Notre Dame School) and Ben Weisz (BBC Radio News Programmes) co-chaired a panel of speakers which included:
- Chlo Winfield (Young Person of the Year, UK Sexual Health Awards 2015, and author of The Speak Out Project)
- Aby Murray (Elected Young MP Westminster)
- Gudrun Burnet (Senior Business Partner, Domestic Abuse, Peabody, and co-founder of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance).
Chinelo Nnadi, a student at Notre Dame School said:
"I think it's really important to have SRE in schools, to help young people become more informed and make safer and wiser choices. This event has helped me connect with many organisations I didn't know existed, who can provide practical help and support. It's great that Peabody have organised this and we should definitely have similar events in the future."
Aby Murray said: "This event was really empowering and inspiring. Young people had a chance to voice their opinions and views on sex and relationships and feel people are listening to them. There was a strong consensus in the room in favour of statutory SRE, we now need the Government to give time and resources to make SRE compulsory and allow young people to make informed decisions around sex and relationships."
Isabel Chapman, Project Manager at Peabody said:
"This event was a great example of young people coming together with professionals to share their concerns and experiences of SRE and consent. These issues are set within the context of great advances in technology, and it’s very important that professionals and policy makers are aware of the changing landscape, and keep listening.
"The reality for young people today is their access to SRE is inconsistent and at times non-existent; we hope the conference clearly demonstrated that young people want statutory SRE because these issues are a part of their daily lives and they need genuine support."