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Its my right: Meet the young people calling for mandatory sex and relationships education

It's my right: Next Steps

What young people want to see in relationships and sex education

From Muslim to Catholic beliefs, from girls to boys, and from diverse sexual orientations – these young people all have one thing in common. They’re calling for good quality relationships and sex education (RSE). 

We have had a huge campaign success now the government has announced there will be statutory Relationships and Sex education. Our next steps are to make sure that the guidance given to schools on how to teach this subject features the key issues that young people told us matters to them, such as "sexting", preventing abusive relationships, consent and gender equality.

Thank you for listening to young people and standing up for girls’ rights!

 

Without our amazing campaigners emailing their MPs, writing letters to newspapers and supporting this campaign we wouldn’t be reporting this fantastic news. Taking action really makes a difference. But there’s still more to do.Though this is a great achievement, the government still needs to finalise how this subject will be delivered and taught in schools.

Rosa is calling for mandatory sex and relationships education to end violence against girls
Rosa, from our Youth Advisory Panel.

I was never taught about sexual violence

“I’ve never once been taught about sexual violence and sexual assault. That’s why we need mandatory sex and relationships education to include consent and healthy relationships.”

Rosa, 18, London 

Philip is standing up for sex and relationships education

It's some of the most difficult challenges we face

"Education is supposed to provide young people with skills and knowledge that will be invaluable to them for the rest of their lives. Sex and relationships form some of the most difficult challenges young people face both in their adolescence and adulthood years to come. So it’s just crazy it’s currently not a mandatory on curriculum in schools."

As young people, how are we meant to protect ourselves from teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, online cyberbullying and sexting, spot signs of abuse in relationships, and understand the what constitutes as consent if schools are not teaching us this?

Philip, 16, Medway 

A photo of Ambrin, from the Youth Advisory Panel

It allows you to be in control

"I think learning about sex and relationship education is really important as it allows you to be in control and stop people taking advantage of you. 

"SRE should be quite separate from religion as learning about these things gives you the option if you want it but it doesn't mean you have to take it if you don't. I also think that by not talking about it, and saying it’s for religious reasons, makes it seem shameful and prevents things from being out in the open and discussed which protects everybody's rights."

Ambrin, 14, London, practising Muslim 

Ales takes part in the youth action festival that discussed sex and relationships education

Homophobia can’t be brushed under the carpet

“We need to provide a space, a platform, whatever you want to call it for these ideas (LGBT) and experiences to be discussed, so they aren’t some big thing hanging over a young person’s identity.

“Schools are the perfect place for people to talk about romantic and sexual orientation.”

Aless, 17, Lancaster 

“Even with more young people coming out as LGBT, there's still a lack of basic SRE and consent education in schools, let alone about any LGBT aspects. SRE should help to promote understanding of everyone and decrease discrimination."

Adam, 18, Lancaster

Evie is calling for mandatory sex and relationships education

I was told the way to not get pregnant is to not have sex

“I have always been in Catholic schools and I know that in many religious schools the sexual education provided can actually be very informative. However, mine has been interesting to say the least and I am definitely not alone. What the schools taught us was largely up to them.

“My secondary school is all girls and yet instead of being taught about contraception we were told the way to not get pregnant is to not have sex, apparently the perfect solution?”

Evie, 16, London, practising Catholic

Sophia's experience of sex and relationships education was basic

It was so basic

“[Sex and relationships education at school was] terrible. In my school, it essentially did not exist. We had one lesson where we put condoms on dildos. But that was it. And we were 12. Something like that needs to be repeated later on, because 12 year olds are not generally receptive to that… And it’s simply not enough. It’s all so basic.”

Sophia, 19, South East 

Kinza supports sex and relationships education

There’s no need to be shy about it

“In my school, I only recall having an hour of sex education in year 7 and never had any PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons. It was strange to see the normally very strict teachers, suddenly becoming shy and giggly when having to teach us sex ed.” 

Kinza, 19, Birmingham 

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