Sunday, 27 July 2008

Sex, relationships, contraception and choice

Brook has been working with young people to produce an introductory guide to sex, relationships, contraception and choice.  It is written for both young men and young women and fits in the back pocket, a bag or a purse.   Young people were involved all the way through so it uses language that they advised would work, and a style which works for them. 

Once again it picks up the three themes so central to Brook's work - choice, real active choice to have sex or not have sex, what protection to use etc; enjoyment - it is sometimes easy in the policy discourses we work in to forget that at the centre of our work on sex and sexuality is empowerment so all of us can enjoy the sex and relationships we have; and finally responsibility - with rights to education and services come responsibilities to ourselves and others to take control of and manage our sexual health and our well being.

I am proud of the young people and the workers who worked hard, debated well, came up with an end product that I am really confident that it is a useful addition to the existing range of leaflets available to help doctors, nurses, youth workers, teachers and all those involved in supporting young people.  

Find out more by visiting, contacting our publications distributor or phoning 020 7284 6051 to get a brook resources catalogue

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Sex Education article worth reading

The Guardian published a special report on sex education yesterday.  The piece written by Mary Braid was absolutely excellent.  The link below takes you to

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Brook's new look - thank you for 'voting'

Thank you to everyone who voted on their favourite logo design. Over 1000 people gave us their views via the internet and the Brook Centres. We now have a lot of work to do to analyse the feedback you gave, and to use it to inform our new look. There are lots of thoughts and ideas, and we will now need to decide what to do next. Once a decision is made, I will explain how trustees and staff reached their conclusions, so even if you don't agree with us you will understand how we got there.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Sex and relationships education

Children, young people, parents, carers and professionals overwhelmingly agree that education about emotions, relationships, keeping safe, growing and developing must start when children are very young so they grow, learn and develop with confidence.  As they get older they need specific information about puberty, about relationships and about conception, reproduction, contraception, sex, sexuality and sexual health.    Children and young people repeatedly ask for education that explore emotions and real life dilemmas, as well as biological information and the development of everyday life skills.   Their right to this education is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Yesterday, Brook ( and fpa ( reaffirmed their commitment to children and young people's emotional and social development, and called on governments' across the UK to ensure children and young people's entitlement by committing to statutory provision of Personal, Social and Health Education in schools.  This is nothing new, indeed both the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group and the Sexual Health and HIV Advisory Group - both expert groups set up to provide advice to government in England, have been calling for statutory PSHE for many years.  Two perennial issues arose through the day;

The name sex and relationships education

many primary schools call it family education; growing up; being me.  I don't mind what it is called, I just want children to get the education they ask for, need and deserve.   Some journalists persisted in calling the subject sex education, instead of sex and relationships education.  This is an unnecessary way of trying to politicise the issue and frighten people.  Sex and relationships education in the primary school, is not about teaching four year olds to have sex.  It is about keeping safe, learning about changing and growing, emotions, learning to live, learn and play with other children who are similar and different from them.

The role of parents 

Parents and carers must be children's first educator.  Children want them to be.  And schools are parents partners.  Brook and fpa both are committed to supporting parents to talk to their children about relationships and sex, and to engage effectively in partnership with schools.  Indeed fpa has over the last decade been running a highly successful programme to support parents called Speakeasy.   As with all area of life, children learn in a progressive way from a range of different sources.   

Northern Ireland requires all schools to provide relationships and sexuality education.  There is a strong and growing consensus in England that there must be statutory Personal, Social and Health Education, where relationships and sex is taught.  There is no need for heated debate - instead we need sensible discussion about how parents, children, young people and professionals can work together to ensure all children have the education, support and skills they need to be grow and live healthy confident lives.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Vote now - all schools required to teach sex and relationships education?

Speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat today I called for all UK governments to ensure that all children receive sex and relationships education in both primary and secondary schools. Like many other organisations, including FPA (, we believe that all schools from primary age upwards should be required to teach about relationships, puberty, sex and sexuality.

If we get high quality sex and relationships education in every primary and secondary school across the UK all the evidence shows teenage pregnancy rates will continue to fall and will improve young people’s sexual health. If sex and relationships education continues to be patchy, another generation of children and young people do not get the education they need. Brook wants every primary and secondary school to be legally required to provide sex and relationships education and secondary schools to ensure young people have access to free confidential contraceptive and sexual health services.

Do you agree that Government must ensure that all children and young people get education about puberty, relationships and sex at primary and secondary school? To register your vote please see