Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Teenage Timebomb

A letter in the Telegraph today showed cross party support for Personal, Social and Health Education to be made a statutory requirement for all children and young people.  With so much support for statutory PSHE I hope it will only be a matter of time before government will respond positively to the voice of experts - not least the voice of children and young people.

I was also pleased to be disturbed by a journalist on august bank holiday monday who wanted us to comment on the Conservative party report on young people's health - pleased because it is so important that all parties pay attention to the public health of children and young people. Statistics are statistics and will always be able to be used in a range of ways, but I do want people to start asking more interesting questions about the reported rise in sexually transmitted infections amongst young people.  

Government has invested significant money in screening, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infection.  I am pleased that we are seeing a rise in the number of diagnosed infection - the conversation we now need to have is how will we know if we have turned the tide - what data and evidence do we need so in five years time we can look beyond the headline and truly say whether the investment is reducing the levels of STIs amongst young people.

Finally - I was in Paris this weekend, and was struck again by different cultural attitudes to children and young people - a few weeks ago I read an article saying we are a child obsessed nation - if we are, can we be obsessed in ways that enable them to develop and grow with confidence, in ways that ignite curiosity and imagination - because from where I am standing there still seems to be a lot of adults in greenhouses throwing stones at young people.

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