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Parents shouldn't be taken in by claims that compulsory sex education will tackle pornography and sexting

19 December 2016


A school lesson simply cannot replace the ongoing care and vigilance of parents, says Safe at School.

Worried parents should not be taken in by claims that their children will benefit from compulsory school lessons about pornography and sexting, according to the SPUC Safe at School campaign.

Rather than making sex education compulsory, Safe at School says that the Department for Education should be looking at ways to support parents in teaching their children about the dangers of pornography.

"We have already encountered issues with some sex education materials which include graphic images for young children," said Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School. "Such materials actually exacerbate the problem of pornography. We need to be clear that efforts should be focused on protecting children from graphic sexual imagery."

Reports indicate that education secretary, Justine Greening, wants to make sex education statutory in order to tackle sexting and access to pornography among young people. But Antonia Tully says that calls to make sex education a compulsory school subject could be misleading worried parents.

Safe at School opposes compulsory sex education, saying that sex education in schools has a poor track record of achieving improvements in the sexual behaviour of young people. The campaign points to a recent review of studies from around the world, including England and Scotland, which showed that there is “little evidence” that school programmes improve sexual health for teenagers.

"Currently, parents who find out exactly what their children are being shown at school are often horrified by the explicit content. They cannot see how showing provocative sexual images in the classroom protects their children against pornography." said Antonia Tully.

"A school lesson simply cannot replace the ongoing care and vigilance of parents," concluded Mrs Tully. "Compulsory sex education would deny parents the right to protect their children from sex education which is inappropriate and potentially damaging."

Notes to editors:

Contact us

Antonia Tully can be contacted on:

  • Mobile: 07926 007175
  • Landline: 020 8660 3651
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