UK: Groundbreaking LGBT inclusive sex education guidance launched by leading charities

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

New sex education guidance, with a greater LGBT emphasis, has been welcomed by campaigners and Schools Minister Lord Nash.

The PSHE Association, sexual health charity Brook and the Sex Education Forum were selected by the government to write the guidance.

The Department for Education announced it was working on new guidance following disagreement between Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Education Secretary Michael Gove on how best to improve sex and relationship education (SRE).

Mr Gove previously warned that SRE in schools would not be modernised because “changing social mores” will only make fresh advice out of date. He also said that “the right thing to do is to trust teachers”.

Last month, Mr Clegg expressed his frustration at the failure of the Cabinet to agree on the need to “improve” and “modernise” SRE during a speech at a Terrence Higgins Trust event.

In an interview afterwards to, the Lib Dem leader said updating guidance could help in the fight against rising HIV cases among gay and bisexual men.

The Department for Education then confirmed to that it was working to update guidance.

On Friday, new Supplementary Advice was unveiled by Brook, the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum.

It provides information to teachers on topics that are missing from current guidance published in 2000, including issues about pornography, the safe use of technology, sexual consent, violence and exploitation.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said: “I welcome the work of the PSHE Association, Sex Education Forum and Brook on new supplementary advice to complement statutory SRE guidance.”

Simon Blake, chief executive of Brook, said: “Young people have been telling us for years that SRE is not relevant to their lives and they want better. We think they deserve better, and in 2011 we asked them what 21st century SRE should look like. Young people’s views from this and other channels over the last two years have influenced this piece of work.”

“Teachers want more support too,” added Joe Hayman of the PSHE Association. “Our members tell us that the training they receive and the resources at their disposal too often leave them unprepared when it comes to teaching this vital subject – something confirmed by Ofsted in 2013.

“The Supplementary Advice is designed to help schools to find answers to some of the questions they most commonly ask and which the current guidance does not answer.”

The House of Lords last month rejected a Labour amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which would have make sex education, including lessons on same-sex relationships, compulsory across state-funded primary and secondary schools.

The amendment received the support of just 142 peers compared to the 209 who voted against it.

Plans for statutory SRE failed in the House of Commons last summer, after they were voted down by Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs.