Ministers are continuing with plans to introduce Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) despite strong evidence that it will not benefit young people, a university professor has warned.
Professor David Paton of Nottingham University dismantled false claims made by those in favour of introducing the change.
“Despite what the sex-education establishment likes to claim, we now have very good evidence that so-called comprehensive sex education in schools is not associated with positive outcomes for young people.”
Writing for The Conservative Woman, Professor Paton commented that the Government has yet to reveal “the extent to which schools will be forced to follow the explicit, values-free approach” to RSE.
An amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill gives Education Secretary Damian Hinds the power to legislate for the subject to be taught in all secondary schools.
Professor Paton also questioned why sex education appears to be “ineffective” in tackling issues such as teenage pregnancy.
‘Normalise sexual activity’
He believes one of the issues may be programmes that provide “access to birth control for those young people who ‘are going to have sex anyway’.
“It does not take a genius to understand that such an approach can normalise sexual activity and actually contribute to the problems you are trying to solve.”
He went on to highlight a new study from an American organisation which found no evidence of sustained reductions in teen pregnancy or STDs from sex education programmes.
The study indicated that sex education has been mostly ineffective in classrooms and has “produced a concerning number of negative outcomes”.
‘At what age’
Last year, Professor Paton published research which found that funding cuts to sexual health services were connected with a fall in teenage pregnancies in the UK.
The study went as far as to say that “spending on projects related to teenage pregnancy may even be counterproductive”.
Professor Paton does believe that sex education “can be helpful in supporting parents” to address the issue, but it depends on “what information is delivered, by whom and at what age”.