CAMPAIGNERS trying to persuade the government to radically improve the quality of mandatory sex education have been offered the chance to visit schools throughout Greater Manchester.
YES Matters, launched by Gemma Aitchison, aged 27, from Westhoughton, staged demonstrations in Bolton, Manchester and London, and is calling for sex education to more explicitly refer to consent and technology.
The movement was launched in the wake of the House of Lords rejecting a Department of Education proposal to put a mandatory Personal, Health and Social education programme (PSHE) on the national curriculum.
Stockport MP Ann Coffey, who is currently chairing an inquiry into the links between runaway children and child sex exploitation met Ms Aitchison and other YES Matters campaigners in London on Monday.
Tentative proposals were put in place which, once YES Matters becomes a formal organisation, will enable members of the campaign to sit on government advisory panels and visit schools to present their views to pupils.
Ms Aitchison said: “It’s really good for us to get such credibility. Ann said she really admired how we’ve worked with Bolton Council and the universities, meeting people and explaining our arguments.
“We have not just blindly laid the blame at the door of men, but done research and made this inclusive, which feminism perhaps wasn’t in the 70s and 80s.
“I’m really looking forward to the group starting work in schools Ms Aitchison began campaigning about the sexual objectification of women in the media after her 16-year-old sister Sasha Marsden was murdered in Blackpool in January, 2013.
Hotel owner David Minto was found guilty of her murder in July last year and sentenced to a minimum of 35 years imprisonment.
The campaign has also won support from Labour leader Ed Miliband, Bolton actress Maxine Peake and Greater Manchester’s police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd.
Mr Lloyd said: “By raising this issue, Gemma is making an important contribution to the debate — all our schools should be providing high quality education to young people about relationships.”