Tomorrow is the deadline for responding to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) draft guidance on sex and relationships (SRE) and alcohol education. NICE was set up to make recommendations for practitioners and policy makers in public health. NICE looks at the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of different treatments and approaches.
Most of this guidance is extremely common sense stuff taken from years of research into what works in SRE ( in a nutshell, talking about everything accurately) and what doesn’t (in a nutshell abstinence only education and lying to children).
There are also several points in the guidance where it recommends working with people from faith communities to deliver SRE and alcohol education. This despite a dearth of evidence that people with a religious position on sexual behaviour are the best people to educate young people on sexual health and behaviour. Soon I will publish a blog post on a presentation I have delivered to various conferences on Ethics AND Evidence, in which I argue that both must be addressed within SRE. I am as happy as the next guy to think about the range of views and values which inform our sexual identities and behaviours. However, I believe strongly that SRE should remain a neutral space in which evidence-based information from reliable sources is provided to young people and in which they are encouraged to distinguish between facts and values.
Therefore I have written to NICE asking that they remove the recommendations to work with the faith community on delivery of SRE. If you want to respond to this consultation the deadline is 5PM tomorrow. A link to the guidance is here http://bit.ly/autuw2 and simple word document comments form to submit is here http://bit.ly/9d9dwO
My response to NICE is here http://bit.ly/d5c621