The sex and relationship education needs of young people: a review of research and school survey findings

Schools must be in a position to deliver statutory Sex and Relationships Education from September 2019. Coram Life Education, which provides PSHE education to nearly half a million children across the UK, wanted to understand how well schools are prepared to meet their statutory obligations, and what their support needs are.

The survey and focus groups are the first to be undertaken following the government’s announcement. This research was funded by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

Key findings

  • Two thirds of schools say they need more guidance on statutory SRE requirements.
  • Three quarters of schools say they need more advice on consulting parents about SRE.
  • More than a third of schools said they need additional support to teach SRE.
  • A third of schools need more help with identifying children’s needs.
  • Schools told us about the issues their children are facing: 83% said friendship issues, 72% said low self-esteem, 49% said body image, 16% said sharing inappropriate images or images without consent.

Next steps

Using insight from this research CLE is developing a new primary school Relationships Education programme to be rolled out from September 2017 to over 200,000 children through their national network of schools. Informed by CLE’s educational expertise, and in line with the recommended content set out by the government, the SRE programme will consist of a comprehensive set of lesson plans, activities and teacher/parent guidance along the themes of relationships and emotional health, body ownership, puberty and reproduction.