We need mandatory SRE now. We are failing our children.

We need mandatory SRE now. We are failing our children.

Sexual harassment in schools can no longer be ignored after today’s publication of the Women and Equalities Committee report and must be tackled with mandatory Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), the Women’s Equality Party said on Tuesday.

“This Government is failing young people,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party. “The report reveals a ‘postcode lottery’ in how schools are dealing with sexual harassment and violence, and a lack of guidance and support for teachers. I don’t want my children growing up in a education system that fails to teach them the most basic of lessons: to show respect, and to understand consent.”

The Party urged Prime Minister Theresa May to adopt its policy after the Women and Equalities Committee’s report into sexual harassment in UK schools showed that six out of 10 girls and women aged 13 to 21 had faced sexual harassment at school or college in the last year.

The Women’s Equality Party, which submitted evidence to the Committee’s inquiry into harassment in schools, is backing its calls for a new duty on schools to record, prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence as well as for clear government guidance on the issue.

We called on Theresa May to make age-appropriate sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in all primary and secondary schools when she took office in July, as part of our 100 days of May campaign,” said Walker. “This call is now getting louder as others join with us - and it is more urgent than ever. The Prime Minister must act.”

WEP is calling for specialist-taught SRE which includes, crucially, discussion and understanding of online harassment and pornography. “Current guidance on both of these issues - which are central to much of the harassment and violence carried out in schools - is woefully out of date,” said Walker. “Without the right information and support, our children are being left to navigate their own way through their first sexual relationships - and that’s simply not working.”

Published Tuesday 13th September, 2016.