A cross-party group of MPs is urging the Government to make lessons on sexual health and relationships mandatory for young children, the intention being to reduce Britain's high rates of teenage pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted disease.
In a public appeal, as ministers finalize a review of sex education provision, the MPs asked the Government to "guarantee appropriate sex and relationship education in every primary and secondary school by putting personal, social and health education on a statutory basis as part of the national curriculum."
Under current regulations, children must be taught the biological facts of human reproduction, but there is no statutory requirement for schools to teach the social and emotional context of sexual behavior.
The MPs, led by Chris Bryant, a parliamentary aide to Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph say the answer is to give children more information about sex, contraception and relationships.
Under existing rules, all children must be taught the basic biological facts of human reproduction, which are sometimes taught in science classes.
There is no obligation for children to receive dedicated teaching about the social and emotional aspects of sexual behavior.
That must change, the MPs say in their letter, which is also signed by charities including Terrence Higgins Trust, the Family Planning Association and the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group.
"We call on the Government to guarantee appropriate sex and relationship education in every primary and secondary school by putting personal, social and health education on a statutory basis as part of the national curriculum," Telegraph quoted the letter, as stating.
"International evidence suggests that high quality sex and relationship education that puts sex in its proper context, that starts early enough to make a difference and that gives youngsters the confidence and ability to make well-informed decisions helps young people delay their first sexual experience and leads to lower teenage pregnancy levels," the letter added.