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School nurses vital to delivering compulsory sex education, says RCN

The government must get serious about building the school nursing workforce – if sex education is to be compulsory in every secondary school, says the RCN.
pupils learn to fit condoms

The government must get serious about building the school nursing workforce – if sex education is to be compulsory in every secondary school, says the RCN.

The Department for Education wants to make relationships and sex education (RSE) compulsory in all secondaries in England, including academies and independent schools, from September 2019.

Build the workforce

RCN professional lead for children and young people's nursing Fiona Smith said: 'If the government is serious about improving not only sex education but the overall health of our young population, they need to get serious about building the school nursing workforce.'

Amendments to the Children and Social Work bill would also

The government must get serious about building the school nursing workforce – if sex education is to be compulsory in every secondary school, says the RCN.


Compulsory sex education needs investment in school nurses, says RCN  
Photo: Neil O’Connor

The Department for Education wants to make relationships and sex education (RSE) compulsory in all secondaries in England, including academies and independent schools, from September 2019.

Build the workforce

RCN professional lead for children and young people's nursing Fiona Smith said: 'If the government is serious about improving not only sex education but the overall health of our young population, they need to get serious about building the school nursing workforce.'

Amendments to the Children and Social Work bill would also allow ministers to require personal, social, health and economic education to be taught in all primary, secondary, maintained and academy schools.

Roles have been cut

Ms Smith added: 'This long-awaited move could make a huge difference to children and young people across the country.

'Sex and relationships education can equip children and young people with the tools to interpret what are often conflicting messages, and make them aware of the help and support available.

'With comprehensive training and expertise, school nurses are primed to lead this type of education – but as more and more of these roles are cut, this just doesn’t seem feasible.'

A survey of 16 to 24-year-olds carried out by the Terrence Higgins Trust in 2016 found one in seven of more than 900 young people had not received RSE at school.

In other news:

Nurses urged to address dying patients' spiritual needs

NHS on 'burning platform' over patient safety, says CQC

 

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