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Catch22 welcomes proposals to make sex and relationship education compulsory

Close-up of two people holding hands.

The Government’s proposal to make sex and relationship education compulsory in all secondary schools, in addition to teaching primary aged children about healthy relationships is a welcome and important step for supporting young people.

Catch22 delivers emotional health and wellbeing support across the social welfare cycle, including in schools, with looked after children, those exhibiting harmful sexual behaviour, young people with special educational needs and those at risk of entering or already involved with the criminal justice system. By working right across children’s social care and education we understand only too well the importance of health and wellbeing in a young person’s life and the role education can play.

By equipping a young person with the right knowledge and understanding of sex and healthy relationships from an early age, we will create a resilient and empathetic generation of young people with the toolkit to support themselves and their peers and prevent them from being put at risk further down the line.

It’s important that school leaders are supported in the right way and committed to creating a culture and ethos where the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people is seen not as something additional but as a core part of learning. This is particularly important at a time when developments in technology are impacting both the physical and emotional wellbeing of young people.

Frances Flaxington, Catch22 Director of Young People and Families, commented:

“We are living at a time when young people use social media as a daily part of their lives. Our recent report into the impact of social media as a catalyst for youth violence, highlights the dangers of the online world, especially in relation to child sexual exploitation and the impact on young women. We think that more needs to be done to equip professionals working with young people, such as teachers, with the right skills and knowledge to be able address these social media challenges. Statutory guidance around how young people can stay safe online, as a part of sex and relationship education would be a welcome move towards this.”