Senior Tory MP criticises government’s refusal to back new sex education strategy aimed at boys

Posted: 23rd November 2023

A senior Tory MP has criticised the government for refusing to commit to a new sex education strategy for boys which aims tackle sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The Women and Equalities Committee called for proposals to be rolled out in schools, which would focus on engaging boys in relationships and sex education lessons. It also suggested that relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) should be made compulsory in sixth forms and colleges.

The government has said it will “consider” how to strengthen support and guidance to schools on the issue, but has not committed to adopting the recommendations from the cross-party group of MPs.

Caroline Nokes, chair of the committee, said: “Education is a powerful and necessary tool in preventing violence against women and girls.

“Relationships, sex and health education that continues past secondary school and that engages proactively with boys and young men is crucial to combat harmful attitudes in both educational settings and society at large.”

Ms Nokes, Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, added that it is “disappointing the government is refusing to take a position on many of the issues raised in our report until it publishes its long-awaited RSHE review”.

“What we see today is a lack of urgency and frankly women and girls have already waited long enough for those in positions of authority to stand up for them,” she said.

A review into RSHE was announced in March following concerns that children are being exposed to “inappropriate” content.

Research released by the Women and Equalities Committee in July urged the government to provide extra resources for schools as well as impose compulsory RSHE for students who are older than 16.

Schools are still awaiting updated RSHE guidance, which the government has said will go out “for full public consultation later this year”.

A response by the government, published on Friday, did not address whether it would take any of the committee’s recommendations into the review.

Source: Senior Tory MP criticises government’s refusal to back new sex education strategy aimed at boys (

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