SRE success! How girls put better sex education on the government’s agenda

7 March 2017

We did it!

Thanks to the inspiring work of girls and young women all across the UK, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) will be made compulsory in schools across England.

But how did we get here? We look back over three years of amazing campaigning, to show how Girlguiding members have made this happen.

September 2014 – Speaking out as part of Girls Matter

As part of Girls Matter, our Advocate panel and over 2,400 other young members call on the government to modernise sex and relationships education. Over 5000 people pledge their support.

November 2014 – Submitting to the Education Select Committee

Girls submit their voices to the Education Select Committee’s Inquiry into Sex and Relationships Education and PSHE, saying their schools aren’t equipping them with the knowledge they need.

SRE is as important as other subjects - if not more, in terms of practical value - and there needs to be more value and importance placed on it - Amy Callaghan, 16 from Glasgow

September 2015 – Building the evidence base

Data from our annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey shows further need for better SRE. Girls tell us that only 67% of them have received lessons on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and only half are taught about consent, rape and laws regarding sex (49%) or what their choices are if they become pregnant (53%).

Throughout 2016 – Talking to MPs

Throughout 2016, our Advocates and British Youth Council Delegates are busy lobbying MPs to ensure that improving SRE is at the top of their agenda – attending Labour Party and Conservative Party conferences and various All-Party Parliamentary Group events. 

September 2016 – Launching a new campaign 

Thousands of people sign the Advocates’ petition calling for changes to tackle sexual harassment in schools, including renewing the call for compulsory, high quality Sex and Relationships Education - covering consent, online abuse, gender equality and healthy relationships. Following a Westminster inquiry into sexual harassment in schools, the Women and Equalities Select Committee use our evidence to call for compulsory SRE.

If we provide lessons for students about the relationship aspects of SRE - that includes LGBT individuals - then we can start to address issues around sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools and all young people will be able to make positive choices and take control of their sexual health and relationships - Charlotte Forester, Advocate

2017 – The tipping point

After three years of calling for compulsory SRE, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening amends a Bill to ensure SRE becomes compulsory in all schools in England. Today this historic decision has been passed - meaning girls in England will benefit from Sex and Relationships Education that helps them to stay safe and make informed decisions.

We’ll continue to work with decision-makers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure young people right across the UK get SRE that is fit for the 21st Century.

Celebrate with us!

Today is a big day. Share your thoughts and feelings with us on Twitter – just tag @Girlguiding and #SREnow.

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