Hull MP Diana Johnson campaigns for alcohol and drug education
CITY MP Diana Johnson has launched a bid to make lessons about drugs, alcohol and relationships a compulsory part of the National Curriculum.
The Hull North MP claims the move would help young people make "wise choices" while fighting against the "costly social ills of binge drinking, drugs abuse and relationship breakdowns".
Ms Johnson urged MPs to back her Relationship, Drug and Alcohol Education (Curriculum) Bill during a debate in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon.
She said: "Along with support from parents and families, we need to recognise that schools have a vital part to play in producing confident, well- informed young people.
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"I am very pleased to bring this Bill forward with its focus on relationships, drugs and alcohol education, as I believe these are key and important areas for all our young people growing up.
"We can show that a well- planned, coherent and effective education programme around drugs, alcohol and relationships can work."
The Bill, which was tabled under the Ten Minute Rule procedure, has cross-party support, including from the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, Andrew Percy.
Ms Johnson says support is rising for her proposal, which already enjoys backing from charities and campaigns, including The Amy Winehouse Foundation, Brook, the Family Planning Association and Alcohol Concern.
The Bill aims to complement existing sex education in schools with tuition on the dangers of taking drugs and drinking too much, and also what to expect from healthy relationships.
Ms Johnson said there should be specialist training and resources for teachers to handle these additional subjects, instead of making them an "add on" to their main teaching duties.
She also linked her Bill with the ongoing scandal involving Jimmy Savile, arguing that it would "equip children and young people with language and skills to understand appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and relationships, be able to resist pressure and to know who to talk to and how to access help and support when they need it".
Ms Johnson said: "We can't protect young people from every danger but we can equip them better at school and tilt the odds in their favour.
"This is a sensible Bill that will have a real positive effect on young people's lives and society in general."