Us at C4C headquarters have been extremely excited these past few weeks as we are seeing parliament talk about SRE again! This is very important for us and you so we have put together a quick and easy update on the attempts at SRE improvement happening at the moment. Excitingly, there are two bills fighting their way through parliament as we speak.
The first is called the Personal, Social, Health and Economic Statutory Requirement Bill. This one is sponsored by the ever lovely Caroline Lucas and one of the many great things about this bill is that is does exactly what it says on the tin. This bill says that all state funded schools (including academies, free schools and faith schools that are currently not required to teach any SRE) must provide SRE and education to end VAWG. Education to end VAWG includes, finally, teaching young people about consent! This bill also makes provisions for vital teacher support to make sure teachers are able to provide the best education they can. The next reading of this bill is Friday 24/10/14. You can keep up to date on this bill, including the text of the bill that has not been published yet, here on the government website.
The second is the Sex and Relationship (Education) Bill which is sponsored by Diana Johnson. This bill, if it goes through, means that the Secretary of State has to make provisions (politics speak for get ready) for adding sex and relationships, resilience against bullying and sexual abuse and ending violence against women and girls in the national curriculum. This doesn’t make it compulsory to teach in all schools (academies, faith and free schools will again be exempt) but it does count as a huge step forward in government guidelines and education legislation going in the right direction! The next reading of this bill is on the 21/10/14 and keep up with it here.
Okay, now we know what’s going on, but why does it matter? Well both these bill will put consent in the National Curriculum! That is what we are campaigning for here at Campaign4Consent. That is the obvious reason but both of these bills both have amazing, far reaching benefits for young people in the UK, their sex and relationships. The PSHE Bill is performing what is pretty much the dream role of making sure every child receiving a state education will learn SRE including consent whilst the SRE bill not only extends the National Curriculum to include consent but a variety of issues encountered sadly by thousands of young people around sexual abuse and violence against women. Moreover these bills signal that the government is at last taking educating young people seriously and our voices are being heard. Our hard work and the work of tireless MPs such as Caroline Lucas and Diana Johnson is finally paying off and soon, hopefully, the young people of Britain will be reaping the rewards.
Campaign4Consent is a student lead campaign and we pride ourselves in raising student’s voices on the issue of consent in the curriculum and SRE. Our voices and the voices of our fellow student s who have been failed by current SRE have been calling for consent to be taught so that no more young people must suffer abuse, assault and harassment that is ignored and perpetuated by our education system. This is the first step to stopping the cycle. By teaching children and young people about consent and sexual abuse we are stopping it happening in the future. It is often said that the only way Rape Culture will be eliminated is by teaching perpetrators what they are doing is wrong and if these bills go through, we are one step closer to a society where rape and sexual assault are not only treated with the seriousness and attention they deserve but are wiped out.
Do you want to help these bills? Raise your voice by sending us a blog about why YOU want consent in the Curriculum or you can email your MP asking them to support the bills here.
As the amendment we were hoping would go through the House of Lords this January was voted out and all three of us have important exams this term we have decided to put this project on hold. We will still be checking our emails occasionally so please keep sending us blogs and questions and we will respond as soon as possible!
The amendment to the Children and Families bill that we had previously been supporting was voted down today in the House of Lords.
Amendment 53ZAAA was proposed by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch to the Children and Families bill which you can read in full here. The amendment would have put sexual consent, sexual abuse and same sex relationships on the SRE curriculum and is similar to a amendment tabled to the same bill early in 2013 in the House of Commons which was also voted down.
To be honest it is shocking it isn’t already there however the Lords decided today that they do not believe children should be taught that no means no in school as they voted against this vital amendment 209- 142. You can see here the names of the Lords who voted against teaching consent in the SRE curriculum. It is disappointing to see only 351 out of 779 Lords turn up for this vote which could have had a profound effect of the education system. The apathy to this subject in politics is both upsetting and indicative of the culture in our society that perpetuates rape and sexual assault as normal and nothing to make a fuss about. This is utterly wrong and the reason we need consent to be taught in the curriculum.
Here is a copy of our 11/9/13 press release.
Press Release- 11/9/13
Campaign4Consent – TYFA
The Twitter Youth Feminist Army launched Campaign4Consent on the 20th of August with the aim of getting sexual consent taught in secondary schools as part of the SRE curriculum. Campaign4Consent is a grassroots, youth led campaign that is working through the internet to change the law and make it compulsory for all teenagers to learn about consent and their right to say no as well as for more resources to be available to teachers so they are able to teach this important subject as well as they can.
The campaign has two paths of action. The first is a pair of blogs, one for pupils and teenager who are the people that the law will affect if changed, talking about how the sex ed they got did not cover all the things they wanted it to and why they want consent taught to them. The other blog is for teachers, parents and adults talking about their experiences, how being taught consent would have helped them and why they think teens today should be taught about consent. The second is an open letter written by us, addressed to the department of education, the letter details what exactly we want and why.
We have recently been given a unique opportunity to work with Baroness Jones to get consent put in the curriculum through an amendment to the Children and Families bill this autumn. We would be using our letter to tell the Lords why they should vote in favour of this amendment and for this to be successful we need to show our campaign has support. We want to show this support through organisations co-signing our letter and submissions to our blog. If you would like to support our campaign by co-signing our letter we would be very grateful, just send us and email back saying you would be happy to co-sign. We would also be greatful if you could spread the word about our blogs, every voice is valuable to us and we want to hear from as many people as possible.
For more media equiries:
For blog submissions or enquiries:
For enquiries about the TYFA: