Senedd Bites #76: Consultation on making sex education compulsory for all

Sex education “should be compulsory”

The Welsh Government has announced proposals to end the right for parents to withdraw their children from sex education lessons as part of curriculum reforms.

An eight-week public consultation has been opened.

Education Minister, Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem, Brecon & Radnor) said: “I am minded to ensure all pupils study RE and RSE (Relationship & Sexuality Education) in the new curriculum, just as they will study science, maths and languages. It has always been an anomaly that children could be prevented from attending certain subjects. This consultation seeks views on the practical implications of dealing with this anomaly.”

Compulsory vaccinations ruled out

The Health Minister has ruled out introducing compulsory childhood vaccinations in Wales after the idea was proposed by the English Health Minister at the Conservative conference in Manchester.

The Welsh Government said uptake of the Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccine was close to 95% – the minimum level needed to guarantee “herd immunity”. The rate in England was closer to 87%.

£10million research centre to improve teenage mental health

A new research centre is set to be developed at Cardiff University to find ways to improve the mental health of children and adolescents – particularly reducing levels of depression and anxiety.

The centre is being developed in partnership with Swansea University, NHS Wales and the Welsh Government.

Co-director of the centre, Prof. Stephan Collishaw, told BBC Wales: “This major investment will allow us not only to understand the causes of anxiety and depression but help create early interventions to ensure that young people get the right help, advice and support they need.”

Vets “failing to hold bad puppy breeders to account”

The Dogs Trust has called for vets to be investigated as part of a clampdown on poorly-run “puppy farms”, with claims vets were not upholding standards and allowing puppies to be bred in appalling conditions.

The Welsh Government are considering introducing a law to ban third-party puppy and kitten sales – known as Lucy’s Law. At present, anyone breeding a minimum of three litters per year must be licenced by a local authority.

Carwyn Jones peerage “put on hold”

The Western Mail’s Martin Shipton reported that a proposed peerage for former First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM (Lab, Bridgend),  has been “put on hold” due to the ongoing inquests into the death of Carl Sargeant.

He was set to be included in Theresa May’s resignation honours list, but a QC-led inquiry into the circumstances leading up to Mr Sargeant’s death in November 2017 remains outstanding.

A peerage hasn’t been ruled out once the inquests are completed and Mr Jones has expressed an interest in joining the House of Lords. Jack Sargeant AM (Lab, Alyn & Deeside) said: “Until these are answered, any peerage would be disturbing, distressing and wholly inappropriate.”

A third of Welsh phone boxes set to be decommissioned

According to BBC Wales, BT intent to decommission up to a third of all public phone boxes in Wales.

The plans were described as “deplorable” by a Neath Port Talbot councillor, who said the boxes often provided a lifeline to people without access to mobile phones. Others supported the proposal, believing the boxes could be converted into alternative uses, including mini-libraries or to house public defibrillators.