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Readers panel: should school nurses be responsible for sex education in schools?

Education secretary Justine Greening recently confirmed that sex and relationship education will become compulsory in England's schools. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 
Sex Ed_tile_iStock.jpg

Education secretary Justine Greening recently confirmed that sex and relationship education will become compulsory in England's schools. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Ruth Butler is a school nurse in London

Every child has the right to reliable, age-appropriate information about sex and relationships. Ultimately parents are responsible for this, but many feel inadequate addressing it, so I welcome the news that schools will be providing sex and relationship education. School nurses are professionally competent to offer sex education, as well as additional supportive and confidential services, whereas teachers are not always best placed to do so. However, with the gradual reduction of school health services, school nurses are increasingly having to sacrifice their health education role.

Beverley Ramdeen is

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Education secretary Justine Greening recently confirmed that sex and relationship education will become compulsory in England's schools. Nursing Standard readers have their say


Sex and relationship education aims to support young people
through physical, emotional and moral development. Picture: iStock

Ruth Butler is a school nurse in London 

Every child has the right to reliable, age-appropriate information about sex and relationships. Ultimately parents are responsible for this, but many feel inadequate addressing it, so I welcome the news that schools will be providing sex and relationship education. School nurses are professionally competent to offer sex education, as well as additional supportive and confidential services, whereas teachers are not always best placed to do so. However, with the gradual reduction of school health services, school nurses are increasingly having to sacrifice their health education role. 

 

Beverley Ramdeen is a senior nursing lecturer in Hertfordshire 

It is great news that sex and relationship education will become compulsory in primary and secondary schools. Given the rise in sexually transmitted infections, it would be short-sighted to assume this should be the sole responsibility of parents, or for parents to assume it will be covered in schools. But rather than delegate this to the school nurse, it should be taught by someone the students know, using a collaborative approach with clear communication between pupils, parents and teachers. 

 

Lauren Ferrier is a nursing student in Scotland 

It is vital that sex education be taught in schools, from both a physical and mental health perspective. It is important that young people understand the emotional aspects of sex and issues surrounding consent. Although this could add to the workload of school nurses, one way around this could be for nurses to hold workshops for teachers and parents to educate them on delivering sex education. This collaborative approach could also provide more opportunities to speak to young people about their sexual health.
 
 

Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse in Warwickshire 

The increase in diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in people leaving secondary school reflects the need for sex and relationship education to be compulsory. Teenage girls already receive the human papilloma virus vaccine in school, and sex education is vital if they are to provide fully informed consent for this procedure. Pupils must also be educated on the principles of safe sex, consent and health screening. School nurses are well placed to deliver sex education but investment will be required to ensure there are enough nurses to do so. 


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

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