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Talking sex at school

My school sex education aged 15 was useless. A teacher gave a one-hour lesson, without any teaching aids, condensing sex and relationships into a few meaningful words. From 2020, relationships, sex and health education will be compulsory subjects in all secondary schools, while all primary schools will have to teach relationships and health education. Are you and your children ready?

sex teaching

More tea vicar…

Parents have the right to withdraw their secondary child up to age 15, however, the final decision will lie with headteachers; they are discouraged from granting requests. At primary level, sex education is entirely optional, so headteachers will automatically grant a withdraw request. The government guidance is complex, so here’s what you need to know.

Schools must:

  1. Have a written policy on how they plan to teach relationships and sex education; consult parents when developing the policy.
  2. Consider religious background of all pupils when planning their teaching.
  3. Ensure teaching and materials are age appropriate.
  4. Accept students may be understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Learning at primary school

The characteristics of healthy family life and that other people’s families may be different. It includes respecting others when they are different and keeping safe online. It will cover bullying and cyberbullying, plus teaching about menstruation and the science of immunisation and vaccination.

Learning at secondary school

More detail on different types of relationships, the legal status of marriage, the roles and responsibilities of parents and how to determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy. Includes what constitutes sexual harassment, sexual violence, pornography, sexual consent, exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape and domestic abuse. There is also content on reproductive health and fertility, managing sexual pressure, the range and efficacy of contraception, STIs and pregnancy.

LGBT elephant in the room

The government expects all pupils to learn LGBT content at the point the school considers it appropriate. This has angered religious and conservative groups, which have demanded the right to opt their children out of LGBT lessons.

Teachers need the best teaching aids and that every child should be taught from an early age about consent, different types of relationships, and what abuse and harassment is, so can navigate modern living. Time will be the judge, as it must be better than my one lesson many decades ago.

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Date: 04 November 2019 by Max Robinson