Government’s review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education in England - NAT comment.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) said of the Government’s review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education in England released today (21 March 2013):

“Today the Government has released the long-awaited findings from the review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education in England, which went out to consultation in November 2011. 

“Unfortunately the lack of commitment and investment in sex and relationships education evident in the Government response to the review is in stark contrast to the ambitions set forth a mere week ago in the Sexual Health Improvement Framework. In that framework the Government stated its ambition for young people to ‘receive good-quality sex and relationship education at home, at school and in the community’.

“The review, however, recommends PSHE continues as a non-statutory subject and leaves the quality, direction and frequency of PSHE in the hands of individual teachers. This hands-off and inconsistent approach hasn't worked so far. A recent survey by the Sex Education Forum found that one in four young people learn nothing about HIV at school. 

“Our own research, commissioned from Ipsos MORI in 2010, showed that 85% of people thought young people should be taught about HIV at secondary school to ensure they have a good understanding of the condition before they leave. More leadership and guidance from the Government is needed in order to achieve this. This is why we believe that PSHE, including good quality sex and relationships education, should be statutory in all schools in the UK.

“The report also makes no mention of sex education which addresses the needs of LGBT young people. Gay and bisexual men remain the population group most likely to acquire HIV in the UK. The latest figures show in 2011 there was more new HIV diagnosis among gay and bisexual men in a single year than ever before, while new diagnoses among young gay and bisexual men have doubled in the past ten years. HIV education therefore needs to contain clear, sensitive and sensible messages on sexual health, HIV and same-sex relationships that meet the needs of all young people.”

Notes to the editor:

For further information please contact:

Suzi Price, communications manager, NAT, 020 7814 6733,


NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

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