Young people from SYMBOL (Sefton Youth Making Better Opportunities with Leaders) have been making their voices heard over plans to improve Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) in schools.
The Department of Education is considering updating the existing Sex and Relationship guidance which was last revised in 2000.
At a recent SYMBOL meeting held at Bootle Town Hall, young people from across the borough discussed the topic.
Being a member of SYMBOL means a young person can play an active role in their community, with a direct line of communication with key decision makers, such as councillors and senior managers at Sefton Council including representatives from Public Health. They meet three times a year at different locations across the borough.
At the meeting young people talked about their experiences of sex education in school and gave advice on how it can be changed to be more effective. They believed that they would benefit more by having discussions about thoughts, feelings and the various issues surrounding relationships.
Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, was at the meeting. He said: “Some great points were raised by the young people attending the meeting.
“As a new curriculum in SRE and PSHE is shaped, it is important that we listen to young people’s views and experiences in order to make lessons relevant to them and their needs.
“Young people believed that some teachers may be embarrassed when talking about the subject and understand it may be difficult for them to make the transition from teaching their usual curriculum subject, to having open discussions about sex and relationships. Advice like this is really relevant and will be shared with Public Health.”
During the meeting there was a performance from Access27, a theatre company which portrays the issues which effect young people. The hard hitting ‘Like Glue’ exposed relationship abuse in 5 scenarios including domestic abuse and controlling behaviour. This creative and emotive piece brought the issues to life, leaving a lasting impression on the room.
Also on the agenda and keeping to the important topic of sex and relationships, young people and key figures took part in a session which raised awareness of the increase of on-line sexual abuse and e-safety. The workshop gave a greater understanding of how to spot the warning signs that a young person is being targeted and how to report any incidents.
For more information visit: www.consult.education.gov.uk/life-skills/pshe-rse-call-for-evidence/ and www.listentomystory.co.uk
To get involved in SYMBOL contact Rob Hancock on 07792 315 890