Children: Pornography

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th June 2016.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps in response to the findings of the report published by the Children's Commissioner and the NSPCC in July 2016, on a quantitative and qualitative examination of the impact of online pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of children and young people, to ensure that all children have access to age-appropriate PSHE at school.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

Education can play a vital role in helping young people understand healthy relationships and identify those which are unhealthy. It can also give young people the confidence and knowledge they need to stay safe and respect others. Sex and relationships education (SRE) must be taught in all maintained secondary schools and we expect academies to teach it as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Schools can also choose to teach about the impact of pornography in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons drawing on the guidance and resources available. The PSHE Association has produced a non-statutory programme of study as guidance for teachers, which includes teaching about the impact of pornography. The Government publishes guidance for schools teaching SRE, which is available on GOV.UK at:

The guidance makes clear that all SRE should be age-appropriate, and that schools should make sure young people develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgments and behaviour. This is particularly relevant to sexual consent, and the guidance makes clear that all young people should understand how the law applies to sexual relationships. The guidance covers the importance of marriage, loving and stable relationships, consent and how to avoid exploitation and abuse.

The Government has made it clear in the introduction to the framework to the national curriculum that all schools should teach PSHE and we are working to ensure that all young people receive high quality, age-appropriate PSHE and SRE.

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