Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT (National AIDS Trust) said: "NAT (National AIDS Trust) is deeply disappointed that the Government have opted to remove sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from the national curriculum for Science in key stage 3, as outlined in its final national curriculum framework document released 11 Sept.
"To date Science was the only place that young people in every school were taught about HIV and sexual health. To remove STIs from this statutory lesson will be a fundamental set back to the provision of basic sexual health information for young people and this is detrimental to their chances of achieving good sexual health.
"Whilst we welcome the framework’s emphasis that schools have a responsibility to provide sex and relationship education, it remains the case that the subject through which the Government proposes it should be delivered, PSHE, remains non-statutory so schools can opt out. Therefore the inclusion of HIV in the compulsory national curriculum for Science remains vital.
"Teaching about STIs in the national curriculum for Science, as distinct from PSHE, gives young people a strong scientific, factual understanding of HIV transmission and is vital to ensuring an accurate and consistent provision of HIV education.
"To omit sexual health from Science is in stark contrast to the ambitions set out in the Sexual Health Improvement Framework which states that young people should ‘receive good quality sex and relationship education at home, at school and in the community’.
"Our own research commissioned from Ipsos MORI in 2010 shows clear support for better HIV education in schools. Eighty-five percent 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. Now that sexual health has been removed from key stage 3 this will only weaken their opportunity of achieving this.
We believe the Government’s hands-off approach will seriously undermine this and fails to address high levels of new diagnoses amongst young people.
"We will continue to call on the Government to ensure the facts about HIV are taught in every school, this includes: how it is transmitted and how to protect yourself and others from HIV infection as well as the importance of treating everyone with HIV with dignity and respect."
Notes to the editor:
For further information please contact:
Suzi Price, communications manager, NAT, 020 7814 6733, email@example.com
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. www.nat.org.uk
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