Today saw the publication of the much anticipated Scottish Government guidance for Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education in Schools. The new guidance has greatly improved the previous version from 2001; explicitly outlining the needs and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender young people in Schools, which is a greatly welcomed improvement.
There is still much discussion to be had on whether sexual health education should be a statutory part of education, we certainly consider it to be an essential element of all young people’s learning and development while at school and the evidence clearly shows the negative outcomes for all young people when it is not undertaken properly or at all.
Sadly for LGBT young people it is still often the case that sexual health education does not meet their specific needs, today’s guidance outlines the necessity for LGBT young people’s needs and views to be taken into account.
“In preparing programmes, it is good practice for schools to consult with children and young people and respond to their views appropriately, to ensure RSHP meets the needs of all children and young people in the school or educational setting.”
Currently the guidance does improve the situation for sexual health ecuation, placing final decisions for their own education with young people themselves, rather than with their parents or carers, by stating “In secondary education, young people will often be capable of deciding themselves, with support where necessary from parents, carers and teachers, to participate in sexual health education programmes…In all cases, schools must respect the decision of that young person.”
LGBT Youth Scotland is pleased to see today’s publication of the Scottish Government’s relationships, parenthood and sexual health education guidance, which has strongly embedded children’s rights within it. Evidence clearly shows that by not talking positively about the lives of LGBT people in School we create environments where homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can and do flourish and LGBT young people then leave education as a result (14.3% of LGBT young people left education as a result of bullying, Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People, LGBT Youth Scotland, 2012).
We are therefore pleased to see that schools are continuing to be guided to fully include the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people in the curriculum and to listen and respect young people’s views on their own sexual health education.