Alex Norris, MP for Nottingham North, has praised Nottingham’s Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) Charter in Parliament.
Mr Norris spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday 6 February during a debate about statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.
In January 2016, Nottingham City Council produced a charter on RSE and called on all schools in the city to sign up.
The charter outlines the requirements for lifelong learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up and sexual health. It calls for age-appropriate RSE for children at primary age right through to teenagers.
The charter encourages schools to view RSE as a key element of their work to safeguard pupils, and asks for three things:
- Sign up and complete an audit of current RSE provision
- Create and action plan and develop existing RSE
- Evaluate, assess and monitor progress – share good practice with others
A lack of appropriate RSE may make youngsters more vulnerable to exploitation and inappropriate sexual behaviours because they have not developed the knowledge of what is right and wrong, or the confidence to seek help.
Mr Norris praised the charter in his speech: “In Nottingham thanks to the excellent work of Catherine Kirk and Cllr Sam Webster we introduced a Relationship and Sex Education Charter and sought to encourage schools to sign up to it. Currently, 70% of all schools in the city have signed up to the charter and in the two years since the launch it has received a very positive response.”
He added: “This is to equip our young people to pass what I call the ‘Friday night test.’ When they are wherever they are when they’re out and about on a Friday, do they have the knowledge and skills to make good decisions? Because we won’t be there, teachers won’t be there and parents can’t be there all the time.”
His speech concluded with urging the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, to examine Nottingham City Council’s work in the hope that it can serve as an example of good practice which can be spread further.
Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills at Nottingham City Council said: “We are committed to enabling youngsters to make safe, sensible and healthy choices, both now and in the future. It’s fantastic that Alex has spoken in Parliament about Nottingham’s RSE Charter as it highlights this important issue to influencers outside of Nottingham, and will hopefully encourage other local authorities to follow our lead.”
He added: “We are grateful for Alex’s support for our work with schools on this agenda.”