Campaigners for statutory sex education are disappointed that the Government has decided not to make it compulsory in schools.
Education minister Liz Truss said in a written ministerial statement that Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education would remain a non-statutory subject, following a consultation by the Department for Education.
It received 699 responses, including those from parents, teachers, faith groups and local authorities.
More than half of respondents to a question about sexual consent said abstinence before marriage should be taught alongside contraception in Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) lessons.
Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, had warned that compulsory sex education would “promote relativism” and “encourage sexual experimentation”.
Groups who want schools to be forced to teach SRE are angered with the outcome of the review.
Lucy Emmerson, co-ordinator of the Sex Education Forum said, “we do not believe that the Review Outcome goes far enough. SRE (within PSHE) should be made a statutory subject”.
And the FPA (Family Planning Association) said the news was “disappointing”.
Dr Audrey Simpson, the acting CEO, said: “It’s bizarre that the emphasis of preparing children and young people for adulthood is often on knowledge and skills that they will never use as adults to the detriment of those that they will definitely need and use.”
The Labour Government tried and failed to make SRE compulsory in the previous administration.
The plans included removing the right for parents to withdraw pupils from sex education lessons once their child reached 15.