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School nurses should teach about sex education


School nurses should be discussing sex education and relationships in primary and secondary schools as a statutory obligation, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

They want the government to guarantee tuition on the topics by adding ‘Personal, Social and Health Education’ to the curriculum on a statutory basis. Currently, the subject is a non-statutory part of the curriculum.

The call comes as the Department for Children, Schools and Families prepares to publish a review of sexual health education this autumn.

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Sandra Gidley, one of the 10 politicians calling for the change in a letter to a national newspaper, told NT that nurses would be key to the subject being made compulsory.

‘Not all teachers are comfortable talking about this kind of thing and there needs to be some system where teachers are given training, or it [the education] should be run by nurses,’ she said.

‘If you are going to be taught geography then you should be taught it by the geography teacher and the same applies here,’ she added. ‘We should be making much better use of nurses in schools and they are best placed to do this.’

Joy Winks, RCN school nurse forum chairperson, said: ‘We think this should be mandatory and, yes, school nurses should be part of this.

But she added: ‘Nurses would not be in every class doing it. They would probably be part of the development of it and offering ideas but not necessarily delivering it.

‘It has to be done as part of the whole ethos of the school so that the teachers have the same ethos as the nurse,’ she said.

Sharon White, professional officer at the School and Public Health Nurses Association, agreed. ‘Teachers have to be able to teach the difficult things too, not pass that difficulty to someone else. Health is all about education.’


Readers' comments (3)

  • Can it be true that our nursing leaders, appear to be throwing aside a great opportunity to influence how young people view sex and their future health?

    I couldn't beleive that the two people quoted blandly say yes school nurses should be involved in the developemnent but not in the teaching and delivery of important health information.

    With sexually transmitted disease on the increase,teenage pregnancies causing concern, l would have thought school nurses would jump at the chance to play a major role in the future health education of children.

    I may be wrong but l believe that nurses would be taken more seriously by schoolchildren than their teachers, because they are in a position to give them the benefit of situations that they have experienced.

    We have come a long way since the days of the nit nurse, lets make sure nurses are at the forefront of any future health education process, not running behind as we have done in the past. I only hope that school nurses at the sharp end are more enlightened than their spokeswomen.

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  • has a school nurse i feel school nurses school be involved in the health education programmes in schools, but not all school nurses are experienced in delvering sex education/promotion to young poeple.Just like maths or english teachers the proffessional delivering this subject need to be highly skilled with uptodate knowledge within their field. therefore, In order to prevent Sexual transmitted infections and reduce teanage pregancy, nurses specialising in sexual health with a qualification in sexual health should be involved within schools in partnership with school nurses and teachers in both the development and implementation of sex education programes in schools.

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  • I am a nursing student, and would really like to get into sex education when i qualify. Does any one know how i can do this?

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