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Guest blog: We need to put Sex and Relationship Education on the National Curriculum - for all

(134 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 08-Jun-13 15:22:34

Hello all

An amendment to the Children and Families Bill currently before parliament has been tabled, which would:

1. Add PSHE to National Curriculum;
2. Make age appropriate SRE a statutory component of this curriculum at all 4 Key Stages;
3. Specify that same-sex relationships, sexual violence, domestic violence and sexual consent be part of the curriculum on PSHE

The amendment is backed by the One Billion Rising campaign and other groups including End Violence Against Women, the EQUALS coalition and Women's Aid, and will be debated this coming Tuesday 11th June. Here Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Children's Minister who tabled the motion (along with Sharon Hodgson MP and Stella Creasy MP), explains why the proposals are vital to ensure both young men and women develop positive and equal relationships with each other, and calls on Mumsnetters to contact their MP asking for her/his support.

Tell us what you think here on the thread, and if you blog on this issue don't forget to leave your URL. If you like this post, do spread the word via the share buttons at the top of the page!

"We need to do more to protect children. Recent research by the Children's Commissioner found a shocking number of young people don't know what a good relationship looks like. This should be a wake up call that we are simply not doing enough to keep children safe.

Making clear, high-quality and age-appropriate sex and relationship education part of the National Curriculum is a vital and important step in equipping children with the ability to protect themselves from abuse now and in the future. This is not just about biology - but about helping young people to develop healthy attitudes towards sex and relationships. A recent report by the NSPCC found that a third of girls in relationships aged 13-17 have experienced physical or sexual violence in relationships, while one in 16 of this group reported experiencing rape. Not only are a third of young women experiencing violence and abuse in their relationships but a third of young boys are the perpetrators of this abuse. This is clearly a significant problem.

We need to break the cycle and education is key to preventing it from happening in the first place. With children and young people increasingly exposed to sexual content online and through social media, the need for information has never been greater. According to the Children?s Commissioner, boys as young as 11 are frequently exposed to pornographic images, and the NSPCC reports calls to Childline by teenage boys who are worried about what it is doing to them. There is strong evidence of a link between explicit images and a rise in sexual aggression and harassment of the opposite sex.

Not only does good quality sex and relationships education help protect children from becoming victims of abuse, it will help children develop healthy attitudes which will prevent them from becoming perpetrators of abuse themselves. It is vital that children can make healthy and informed decisions about their lives, and develop the confidence, skills and resilience to make good choices. This is too important to leave to chance.

That is why on Tuesday we will ask the Government to support an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to deliver age-appropriate sex and relationships education in all schools and give teachers the tools they need to deliver it.

Sexual abuse is not inevitable, and we have a duty to do all we can to prevent it. Children and young people have a right to expect that from their Government. Show your support for making Sex and Relationship Education part of the National Curriculum by contacting your MP to ask them to join me in voting for New Clause 20."

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 18:57:40

I think I prefer to be in charge of what my children learn regarding those topics above.

I oppose any effort of them being taught anything that are in direct opposition of our beliefs.

TheFallenNinja Sat 08-Jun-13 19:39:27

Same here. You sort your children, ill sort mine.

deliakate Sat 08-Jun-13 19:57:18

I think it's a great idea. There are clearly parents around who are failing to sort their childrens' attitudes and behaviours around these things, or worse still are the root cause of some of the things going wrong. Families can be so insular, so getting things takes about in wider circles, without judgement, could really help children.

However, I do wonder about the support for teachers in schools if they are going to tackle these things. Very good training needs to be provided, and some kind of debriefing process, as it may turn into a kind of counselling role in some cases. Do the teachers have the time and resources or will things be put in place to help practically, not just more paperwork to work through.

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 20:26:02

Why would you not want your child to be informed about healthy relationships? Not being argumentative, just can't understand why anyone would want to limit the knowledge that could really affect the life of their children.

I blogged about this six months ago. It is the single most read post on my blog, with the most searched for term leading to my blog 'controlling man' and 'how to spot controlling man' and variations thereof.

Being able to recognise the difference between a positive and a negative relationship is very important. Being able to recognise controlling and manipulative people (not just men) is a vital life skill.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 20:40:27

I wholeheartedly agree with MmeLindor.

I get really angry about people saying 'ooh, not my kids, ooh, you can't let them hear anything that might go my beliefs' as if teaching children about sex, relationships and how to be happy and safe is going to make them gay, straight, pregnant, promiscuous or anything else.

Information is what will keep them safe. The full facts. Not the edited version that some people choose to give to their kids, or worse, nothing at all.

We've got one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe. The SRE info our kids get is too little, too late. In other places, particularly the Netherlands, there is a huge swathe of info about SRE given to kids, and one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates AND teens wait longer before having sex. Do people not see the connection?

If you're giving your kids all the info at home, great - there's nothing school will tell them that you won't tell them anyway.

If you're not giving your kids all the info they need to make healthy, sensible relationship choices in the future then IMO you're not parenting properly, and it's quite right that schools tell them what you won't.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 08-Jun-13 20:50:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lissieloo Sat 08-Jun-13 20:51:04

I completely agree with mmelindor, I feel very strongly that children should be taught about respect and relationships from a young age.

lissieloo Sat 08-Jun-13 20:53:28

And exactly what fliss said.

meglet Sat 08-Jun-13 20:53:33

I support these changes. I don't have a problem with sex and relationship education being taught from a young age.

Keeping it a secret makes them more vulnerable IMO.

notcitrus Sat 08-Jun-13 20:57:22

Amazingmum and fallenninja, could you clarify what you are worried might be taught that might be against your beliefs?

I'm assuming you don't actually think rape or domestic violence is ok, so why not ensure that schools support you in teaching that it isn't, as well as teaching the kids who don't have such good role models as yourselves?

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 21:10:43

notcitrus no, I don't want to clarify my point.

those who'd agree with me will know what I mean, those who don't know what I mean will disagree anyway.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 21:11:16

Are you talking about homosexuality and/or same sex marriage?

lissieloo Sat 08-Jun-13 21:15:34

amazingmum, so that's it? discussion closed? ohhh-kay

fliss, I think that homosexuality should be discussed as part of sex ed, for those children who are gay and confused. knowing about homosexuality doesn't make you gay.

I think the relationships thing is particularly important though, a huge proportion of teenagers will have sex before they feel ready for it, and will often find themselves in unhealthy, abusive relationships. We need to educate them and hopefully start breaking some cycles.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 21:20:23

lissie my question was to notcitrus and amazingmum, I wonder if that is the thing they object to as it against their beliefs.

I agree, teaching about homosexuality doesn't make you gay any more than learning about Henry VIII makes them royalty.

lissieloo Sat 08-Jun-13 21:25:27

I realised after I'd posted, blush

I'm reminded of a neighbour who was totally opposed to the most recent changes to PSHE(?) to include age appropriate info about bodies etc, until she actually found out what it included. She was in an abusive relationship for years.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 08-Jun-13 21:28:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 21:32:42

Suffolk - that's my guess, neither of the two posters have responded.

It could be contraception in general or sex outside marriage.

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 21:47:51

Studies in US have shown that abstinence only programmes are ineffective, that the young people have sex as early as other kids, but that they often don't use contraception.

I don't actually think that kids should be taught that sex is fine and good, as long as you use a condom. I don't think that they should be taught that sex is best when you love someone.

Telling hormonal kids to wait till they are 'in love' is a recipe for disaster.

Teach them that sex is great, when you are ready for it. If you are unsure, then wait till you are happy to go ahead.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 21:48:30

fliss and suffolk great attitude. nice assumptions.

dare I state that I prefer to teach my children in a way I see fit and immediately there's this hostile attitude.

how very open-minded of you!

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 21:53:43

It is kind of difficult to enter into a discussion with someone who won't explain why she feels so strongly about a topic, or give reasons for her statement.

Of course you can decide what your kids learn, but your kids are friends with our kids so their behaviour has an impact on our kids' lives.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 21:54:56

But if you don't teach your children things that don't fit with your beliefs, then how can they make healthy, sensible, informed choices?

Not informing your children means my children are at risk. If they're all taught the same, without omission, without prejudice, without fear, then that should make them all safer.

OddSockMonster Sat 08-Jun-13 22:14:22

I think the bill amendment is a great idea - seeing as teens pay as much / sometimes more attention to what their peers say, peer pressure to reinforce good relationships would help turn things around, wouldn't it?

Also, I had very very little knowledge of DV till it landed on my doorstep - even an inkling would have helped me help others in bad situations.

notcitrus Sat 08-Jun-13 22:22:51

Amazingmum - do you home educate?
If not, I'm wondering what makes you presumably content with schools teaching national curriculum versions of history, the English language, biology, just to mention some subjects that include aspects where many parents have strong views, but relationships are different?

Possibly RE is the best comparison: schools teach that the Bible says XYZ, whereas Islam teaches XYZ, with parents left to ascribe values to the facts. PSHE could equally say 'the law says service providers must not discriminate on the basics of sex, race, sexuality', or statistics show most teens are lying when they say theyve had sex, whatever, and parents are still left to impart their own values.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 22:23:45

Also Oddsock, it means that kids know what to look for FOR their friends - if 16yo Betty thinks that 16yoJane is experiencing violence in her relationship because she's been taught about it in class, and speaks out about it, because Jane is too scared to report it herself, surely that can only be a good thing?

It's not just about misguidedly 'protecting' your own kids. It's about equipping ALL of them with the tools to help themselves and each other. Not just teaching them what you know or agree with.

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 22:25:24

That is a good comparison. I am actually not happy with the RE teaching in school, because I am going through a bit of an atheist phase (or should that be, I have questions with regard to my faith). I would not stop them teaching RE in school, because it is MY opinion, not my kids. They should be taught to look at these issues with an open mind and make their decisions.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 22:26:21

What I'm saying there is, it's not just that Betty might speak to Jane but she might know to report it to someone who can help.

It's not just peer support, but enabling our young people to access services they may otherwise not be aware of, or bringing them to the attention of service providers.

OddSockMonster Sat 08-Jun-13 22:35:12

Agree with you there Flisspaps.

Also, given they already do a bit on bullying (I think, DC1 is only 6), it's not too much of a step to bullying within a relationship (simplistic version). But nevertheless a step that needs pointing out.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 22:37:22

hopefully they will make healthy, sensible and informed choices based on what we teach them.
we are their parents and we should decide what information should be given to them and when, how detailed etc.

I don't think any stranger can explain to my children about conception for example any better than I can.
we have lovely conversations and they are welcome to ask any questions they want.
they are not being deprived of any information and have been always given straight and truthful answers based on their aged and their capacity to understand the answers.
I would be a fool to let these precious, intimate moments handed over to a teacher or a doctor!

fear not, our children are very well informed - having had 6 children there's not a snowballs chance in hell that we could avoid talking about "where babies come from" (to stay with my example).
not that we would ever want to!

I'm not saying that the proposed changes in topics are a bad idea. I oppose to them being compulsory.

if it becomes compulsory, fine.
we'll see what options there are, and yes there will be certain lessons our children won't be allowed to take part based on our religious beliefs.
which by the way they already do in certain other subjects.

I don't think I can explain how I think and feel any better than this.

which is why I said earlier that those who agree with me will understand what I'm on about, and those who don't understand what I mean would probably disagree with me anyway.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 22:40:15

notcitrus - I don't home educate them.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 22:44:05

Non-compulsory lessons make it a pointless exercise though - excluding children from certain lessons or topics mean they CANNOT be fully informed. Not being fully informed means you cannot make informed choices. You may have decided, as a parent, to omit something that in the future, your child could really have done with knowing about.

Why would anyone choose for their child to not have all the information they could possibly need?

What does your child lose from being fully aware of the things you are currently choosing to exclude him/her from?

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 22:47:56

what bothers me the most about these conversations - not the first or the last - that people will talk about being open-minded and tolerant yet are incapable of tolerating my POV.

it happens every time.

I tolerate other people's views and accept that they have different ideas from mine.
I just don't want to agree with these ideas, or being forced to accept them.

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 22:52:23

Do you see though that although you are saying that you would teach them all they need to know - and possibly much of the same things that they would learn in school - some parents wouldn't.

If all parents were able and willing to have these discussions with their kids, and felt comfortable talking about sex and contraception, then there would be no need to make it compulsory.

The issue is that some parents will not do this, or won't be bothered. These kids, the vulnerable ones, are most in need of a guiding hand.

What about kids who are already in an abusive household, but don't recognise it as one? I heard Jahmene Douglas speak recently and he said that he didn't know that the abuse he witnessed was wrong. He thought all families were like that.

You might be interested in the blog post I wrote for preteens/kids about controlling behaviour being bullying by another name

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 22:53:18

flisspass the question is - what it is that they gain from not hearing certain things that they are either not ready to hear or doesn't benefit them or are potentially damaging to them.

answer - they gain protection of a different kind

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 22:55:19

The other thing to consider is, how do you know what you're teaching your kids (or any of us are teaching our kids) is correct? Many people are certain they know about how our bodies work, about consent, about signs of abuse or violence, and quite often they're wrong. How many old wives tales are there about things like periods and sex? How many rape myths continue because parents pass in their own misguided views? How many kids grow up in families where a thump or slap is the norm?

If the content of what needs to be discussed is laid out, in the NC, made compulsory and supported with factual documents and lessons, so that parents cant omit this stuff, deliberately, accidentally, for religious reasons, personal reasons, because you get embarrassed or even simply can't be bothered to talk, then that can only be a good thing.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 22:57:45

What information do you feel won't benefit them or will be damaging to them though?

Not knowing stuff is what causes the problems.

MmeLindor Sat 08-Jun-13 23:00:05

But there are always going to be things that they learn in school that we don't agree with.

This week my daughter was taught how to resuscitate a person after a heart attack. I find 11yo far too young to be taught this - kids of that age don't have the strength to do this, and they also should not be given that kind of responsibility. Appropriate would be to show them how to get help, and very basic first aid. Not heart massage.

I also don't like the 'healthy eating' message, and the whole mad 'health and safety' nonsense in UK. I put up with it, cause I can talk to my kids afterwards and ease their fears. And because the school is otherwise excellent.

kim147 Sat 08-Jun-13 23:05:00

I think it's really important to discuss healthy relationships. Domestic violence and rape also need to be discussed - just imagine how many potential victims there are in the class. The sad fact is - there are parents out there who will never discuss such things with their children and who think rape and domestic violence are perfectly normal.

It is also important to discuss sex - the misconceptions and the role of effective contraception. As for sexuality, well there are people out there who are homosexual and who need to know it's ok.

School is a safe place to do this. Sex ed has been round for ages and I have no problem with healthy relationships being added to it. I would have a problem if things like marriage were promoted as being "the norm" as this would have an effect on children who are in other types of families.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 23:10:52

It's also important for kids who are not - and will never be - homosexual to know that being homosexual is ok. It's not something to fear or feel threatened by. It's not something to hide away.

Years of lessons about heterosexual sex and relationships haven't magically made all the gay people straight, so there's no reason to think that teaching straight kids about gay sex and/or marriage is going to 'make' them go out and do it.

There are also questions kids might ask a teacher or professional in the context of a lesson on a certain subject that they'll never ask a parent because of embarrassment or fear.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 23:18:09

yes lindor

which is why I said that I don't oppose to the ideas and the changes.
yes, I'm sure that a lot of children (and adults for that matter) would greatly benefit from more information.

but I don't see how it being compulsory would benefit absolutely everyone, every time..

my eldest is 12 and would be bored to tears if he had to sit through someone explaining about both female and male reproductive organs and their functions (yet again) for example.
he knows all about that since he was about 7.
so let him be allowed to spend that hour doing something else, maybe extra maths or history or whatever.

BTW - IMO if these subjects/changes were introduced as a default system with the option of not taking part if so requested by the parents, then children from abusive households would probably be able to go to these lessons as I can only guess that it is likely that abusive parents might not be particularly concerned about what their children are taught at school.
that is a guess and an assumption - and obviously not something that serious changes can be based on. I see that.
still that is what I think.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 23:22:53

flispass I don't think I can answer that very well or at all, until I know what it is that they might be taught.

sorry, not a cop out, I can't answer this.

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 23:25:08

my last comment was an answer to this question:

"What information do you feel won't benefit them or will be damaging to them though?"

amazingmumof6 Sat 08-Jun-13 23:33:56

"The other thing to consider is, how do you know what you're teaching your kids (or any of us are teaching our kids) is correct?"

that I can not answer without turning this into a religious conversation.

Flisspaps Sat 08-Jun-13 23:43:41

It's not necessarily about religion - some people really think that you can't wash your hair during a period, or that you can't get pregnant if you have sex standing up. Some people think that you can't rape your wife, but that you have conjugal rights and can have see with her whenever you like. Some people genuinely believe that financial or emotional abuse aren't 'abuse' as there is no physical violence.

Whatalotofpiffle Sat 08-Jun-13 23:56:21

I think this is a great idea. It is reality and children need to know these things to know what is not ok. I would like to see the materials so I knew what exactly was being taught, parents need to be involved too

When PSHE is taught by people why want to do it, who are well informed and can approach any topic raised by students it is amazing. It helps form healthy minds, healthy relationships, lowers sti's and pregnancy rates.

Some parents, for whatever reason, cannot discuss theses topics with their children. This is just so important as it provides a toolkit for life.

TheFallenNinja Sun 09-Jun-13 00:23:56


Why do you want clarification of my position? Do you want to try and change it?

You won't. I won't bang your drum. I'll bang my own if its all the same.

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 07:38:13

Can I add faeriefruitcake, it's not only some parents cannot discuss these topics with their children, but some simply don't have that knowledge, or wouldn't know where to start.

For example, my knowledge of STIs is fortunately very limited so I wouldn't know what to say to my boys beyond 'wear a condom or you might get all sorts of diseases'. Other stuff I know more about, but I would always appreciate teachers or other professionals filling in the gaps.

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 07:46:23

Thanks for the link MmeLindor, I started reading it thinking thinking 'that sounds like a couple of women I know', so I guess if those behaviours do start young, it's all the more reason to have age-appropriate discussions from early on.

I'll forward that to a friend, her DD is already finding some of this in the playground with classmates, aged 6/7.

(And that other piece on tomboys, could have been written about me, very interesting reading it from a parent's perspective)

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 08:09:56

oddscock - I do hope this 'that sounds like a couple of women I know' was not directed at me.

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 08:19:09

Oh no, not at all amazingmumof6, I do actually mean a couple of women in RL.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 08:24:33

oh ok - can I ask what happened? <nosy>

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 08:25:04

In fact I'm really quite shit at any kind of passive aggressive type stuff.

The nuns at my school may well have taught me to be nice and not to judge, but they did miss out the 'spot the wanker' lessons in life, and I'm only now as a full grown woman really getting to grips with controlling behaviour, and spotting an awful lot in hindsight that I wish I was more aware of at the time.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 08:29:52


sorry to hear.

some of my upbringing taught me to be suspicious and confrontational (or maybe that's just me)

can someone roll us into one? we might be perfectly balanced out then? grin

although I think I'm nice most of the time. (who knows)

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 08:31:15

One in particular - my brother's ex, full on DV situation over the course of years (with him as one of those rarely talked about male victims).

All fine (or near enough) now, but he and I could have done with being able to recognise controlling behaviour and how it escalates, before it got to the stage it did.

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 08:33:24

I'd happily take on a bit of your suspicion, DH alwas says I'm far too trusting and can't see the bad in people.

notcitrus Sun 09-Jun-13 09:42:09

fallenninja Do I want to change your position? Hard to say. I want all children to learn about bullying from peers and in relationships, that hitting others is wrong, and what the laws say about sex, discrimination, etc. So I want to convince the Dept for Education that it's a good idea and people of varying beliefs have nothing to fear.

Which I believe to be the case, but clearly you dislike the proposal for some reason and it's hard to adapt the proposal to take that into account if I don't know why. I might well agree with you - if for example you think the curriculum is already too crowded, or teachers poorly trained in PSHE might end up doing it so badly that it's counterproductive, etc.

notcitrus Sun 09-Jun-13 09:54:38

flaps I know lots of people my age who think rape in marriage doesn't exist, simply because it wasn't a crime until about the time I left school (1992). Some, like me, were put off marriage by that fact.

amazing completely agree that lots of children could be bored in school by learning stuff they already know about - that's why I asked if you HEd as that's the only way to avoid that totally. But any subject if taught well is worth going back to and you can learn more detail and ensure you haven't got holes in your knowledge, whether that's phonics in Reception, human reproduction in primary and later at GCSE, nature of relationships all through life, or me going on an open-top bus tour of London - learnt nothing new but they told the story well and my friends learnt a lot.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 10:58:23

I still don't think forcing "knowledge" on children who might be not ready to learn things or are too sensitive etc is the right thing.

that is actually whay I would call bullying. and even more sinister because this kind of bullying comes disguised as "help".

I suggest people go back to reading the Bible.
by the time they are done, they would have learnt enough about pretty much all the aspects of human nature that can be described -both good and evil of it- that there will be little precious else to add.

what do you want to learn or teach your children about?
everything that is worth knowing or considering is already listed, plus a whole lot of stuff we'd rather avoid hearing or knowing about!

In fact I can't think of a simpler set of rules and guidance for life then the 10 commandments.
if only people followed those rules, even if not fully!

And the best thing is that people don't have to be Christians or even belivers to just read the Bible once!

They just need to be open minded - which is precisely what a lot of people claim to be!

and one more thing for all to ponder :According to the Bible the first child who was ever born on this Earth ended up murdering his only brother.
what does that tell you?

Flisspaps Sun 09-Jun-13 11:18:39

But the NC information will be age appropriate - as is all the other info in there.

There is also a problem with people thinking 'my kids aren't ready to hear this' and actually, they ARE, and they need to.

I assume you follow all of the bible's guidance, including that on not eating shellfish, women covering their head (or cutting off their hair) or wearing mixed fibres?

youarepricelessforme Sun 09-Jun-13 11:32:25

What don't we teach our children that sex outside a marriage is a sin that violence is not tolerated that men are made for women and women are made for men. Porn is bad and should be banned from the Internet and magazines instead of introducing it to young children under the cause of sex education.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 11:58:44

flisspass age appropriate? by whose standards or POV?

no teacher can possibly have better knowledge of what is age appropriate for our kids then their parents!

what doesn't bother my 6 year old my 8 year old can't look at, so let me be the judge of what and when they are ready to hear or see!

why people are so ready to abandon their own instincts and trust a teacher ( some of whom are not even parents) is beyond me.

where do yoy think these people get their information from? I'd be really worried if they could speak about the dangers of drug abuse from experience for example!
But I doubt that is the case, so whatever study material they are given I should be given the same information so I can decide own behalf of my kids.

btw you are being challenging about what I do or don't do as regarding to the teachings of the Bible - challenge not accepted.

ninani Sun 09-Jun-13 11:59:33

Forming good relationships in a family or relationship can be taught by parents as well. In the western world you see so many unplaned teenage pregnancies because sex is shown and promoted everywhere, including schools were children are taught that their genitals "feel nice when touched" as early as Y1 (we were shown the video).

And for goodness sake, why are 13 year olds allowed to come home many hours after school, wandering around aimelessly on the streets and without any control, spend the night out and form relationships? What does even a 15 year old know about how to trust someone? Teenagers playing and shouting in buses being rude and inconsiderate to others. Most of them lack basic manners. How can they form relationships? You can let a small child to pretend cooking but you can't let someone so immature to try his luck within a relationship.

I think if parents exercised some more over their children it would be a lot better. Including drinking which causes so many unplanned pregnancies too. Why aren't parents involved in their children's lives but expect the school to do everything for them?

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 12:18:16


Why aren't parents involved in their children's lives but expect the school to do everything for them?

exactly! why indeed

Flisspaps Sun 09-Jun-13 13:08:08

If parents were doing this stuff then schools wouldn't have to step in. It is because parents don't bother, or omit information, or lie, or get things muddled, that this is needed.

I'd be happy for someone with experience to talk to my child - especially about the dangers of things like drugs.

I only asked if you did as the bible says in other areas as to me, if you are going to follow the teachings of the bible then that should be without selectivity, that's all.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 13:46:57

ok so by your logic I should be slaughtering goats as well. shock

I think you are missing the point

Tortington Sun 09-Jun-13 14:08:20

sick to the back teeth of the govt pushing agendas through schools, like they haven't got enough to bloody do

i tell you what you tory twats, why not invest in schools, why not invest in teachers? A bigger societal change will happen all round when children do not think they are worthless pieces of shit who have no chances of getting a fucking job due to tory badgerfucking arseholes.

successive governments have disenfranchised young people in society

and YOU tory bastards, think that by teaching kids to be nice to each other and to not be violent towatrds women - that is going to help?

i beg to fucking differ you short sighted headline grabbing twats.

invest in education

and deliver things like this - how to treat other people with decency and respect through an educational programme for parents - compulsory if you are to receive child benefit.

parents should be taught how to feed their children healthy meals, how to teach their children to be respectful and decent towards other people. parents should make sure their children get enough exersize, parents should teach religion, parents should make sure that they are fucking parenting.

but no, becuase that requires investment - and off you fly to fucking billderberg to secret meetings with your rich fucking buddies you elite bastards running the word from your own billionaire perspectives. twats.

THIS. THIS against a backdrop of headlines about soldiers being fast tracked to teaching

some WWII throwback bullshit initiative to get our classrooms in order

no, what would get the classrooms in order - is investment - not fast tracking trained killers to teach out fucking children.

try making class sizes smaller you utter planks. stop changing the curriculum, stop inventing new initiatives like 'academies' stop proposing new fucking exams and exam criteria.

is it not bad enough that poor children, kids of the plebs, can't afford to go to uni without being in debt for the rest of their natural fucking days?

Invest, invest, invest. stop swapping things around for a headline.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 14:12:20

custardo now there's a disturbing image - soldiers teaching sex ed to teenagers.

oh dear

MmeLindor Sun 09-Jun-13 16:27:40

This initiative is actually from other groups such as those who work with victims of DV. If we left it up to the government, our kids would still be fobbed off with vague 'birds and bees' explanation of where babies come from.

I was brought up as a Christian, and up to a few months ago would have described myself as one. Recently, I have come to question my faith, and would no longer do so.

Why should my children be taught about the bible? Surely that is my decision to make?

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 17:07:57

I don't vote Tory but I think it's the amendment's a good idea, is that allowed Custardo? And as it goes, I agree education needs investment, and teachers should be properly valued for the work they do. The current government's attitude towards them stinks.

But teachers are in a position where they can impart invaluable advice to all children, including the ones where the parents can't / won't help their children, and I would argue these are the children who need this sort of advice through other avenues far more than those in families where parents are informed and willing.

And amazingmumof6, I went to Catholic school till 18, had the Bible pouring out of my ears (though am now a happy aethiest), and it still left me and my siblings unprepared for the sort of real world issues outlined in the above amendment. You might be able to find your answers in the Bible, and faith schools might well be able to address tricky issues with reference to their own good books, but it would still be a really valuable thing to include within cirricula, to ensure it at least gets discussed.

Flisspaps Sun 09-Jun-13 17:52:45

I'm not a big fan of the troops to teachers programme, but those participating will have to complete a degree and teacher training in just 2 years, so they'll have to qualify first, not just go in fresh from the battlefield.

Not sure why you'd be concerned about them teaching your children sex-ed though amazingmum over any other subject or teacher.

Custardo - this programme should be implemented alongside mass investment in education, more teachers, and evidence-based ideas rather than Gove's latest half- baked rose-tinted scheme. I do think there is a place for this though.

bumbleandbumble Sun 09-Jun-13 18:19:13

this kind of teaching is an absolute must in the national curriculum. and should be compulsory!

it would benefit the entire of society and provide decent information to all young people, whether it is backed up at home by the parents or not, it would be there for all. Knowledge is power and will start the ball rolling for change...these statistics are horrifying!

If parents do not like what is being taught in these sex/relationship classes...Then too bad! They have the right to home school and have total control over how and what their children learn. Parents also have the right to discuss their beliefs with their children and enforce them at home.

Amazing mum---you have every right to discuss what was taught in the sex education class and contradict it. "Yes darling although Mr.X, your teacher said that gay relationships are ok, we believe in the Bible and do not think they are ok. We believe sex is always between a man and woman. This is the only truth you need to know"...or whatever. You can tell your children what you want.

But the rest of the children need this information!

TheFallenNinja Sun 09-Jun-13 18:37:48


So your answer is your way or the highway.

TheFallenNinja Sun 09-Jun-13 18:46:24

Where does this notion come from that children need protecting form their parents views? What arrogant individuals sign up to some
Of the utter nonsense spouted in this thread.

What are they teaching teachers? Do they truly believe that they can save us from ourselves And our own foolish ignorance?

I'll consider these types of things when we cease entirely to have children who spend their entire time in school and come out with fuck all, can't read or do simple arithmetic because the political wing of teaching is spending more time wondering how and who people are fucking rather than getting their house in order.

Flisspaps Sun 09-Jun-13 19:04:37

When the parents views are discriminatory, prejudiced or just plain misguided, that's when kids need protecting.

Again, it comes back to the point that if we all teach our children everything they need, the full facts, without omission, then the government wouldn't need to consider this. It's not just about sex, it's about much, much more. There's nothing to stop this going alongside what you teach at home, but this will fill in the gaps.

bumbleandbumble Sun 09-Jun-13 19:35:51

Ninja- this is not a discussion about the entire state of education and the schools role in society. Of course schools and teachers need improvements, investments, overall...but that is another debate.

Here we are discussing the role of sex ed. Yes it should be taught. And yes it this way or the highway. If you hate your school and feel it is not helping your children, then take them out. Move, or home school.

The point is that this type of education is in my opinion every bit as important as reading writing maths science...Forming normal relationships and respecting others and the opposite sex is a vital part of becoming a mature and responsible adult.

If the entire school system is still failing its children, then that is something else to be worked on, but the curriculum should still be the same and include this information.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 09-Jun-13 19:39:04

Who is going to provide the stats for the teachers?
Who is going to tell the teachers what a "normal and healthy" relationship is?
Are we teaching about domestic abuse/violence or about violence against women?
What wlll be the curriculum?
What will be removed from the curriculum?

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 19:44:32

bumblebee hmm what a tolerant and open minded opinion : move or home ed.

why should I move? or take my children out of school?
that sounds like discrimination and persecution based on my religious beliefs.


deliakate Sun 09-Jun-13 19:51:31

Amazing mum, there are so many religious beliefs, so many interpretations of the bible even within Christianity (there are gay Christians for example). Living with your beliefs in a world populated by many, many others who do not share them is reliant on your faith and how you witness that to your children through the life you live, not down to denying them the chance to hear about the world as it actually exists today.

OddSockMonster Sun 09-Jun-13 20:14:45

Well I think the amendment's a good idea and have e-mailed my MP to ask her to vote for it. Going by what I know of her, she probably will.

TheFallenNinja Sun 09-Jun-13 21:16:15

"Here we are discussing the role of sex ed. Yes it should be taught. And yes it this way or the highway"

No we're not discussing the role of sex education, those in favour are slating those not in favour.

No it should not be taught beyond the biology.

Unless you are in a position of some authority I'm not aware of you are not in a position to state anything about highways and whether anybody should use them or not. Suggest you drop off your horse a moment.

I suspect you have something to do with the education system, just not really sure what.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 21:22:59

you are saying that deciding WHEN my kids are ready to hear certain things=denying them to learn about the world.

that is accusation based on false assumptions

again, unacceptable

I'd rather people didn't worry about my children's well-being.
they are not the target "customers" of that campaigne, neither are they being abused, neglected, misinformed or deprived of anything.

( well my DS5 would certainly disagree as he was being denied chocolate apple juice today...on the basis that it doesn't exist)

I can only offer to agree to disagree.
I'm out.

amazingmumof6 Sun 09-Jun-13 21:29:06

just to clarify my last post was to delikate

<waves bye to ninja, shuts door>

deliakate Sun 09-Jun-13 22:09:07

I don't think anyone is suggesting that your children would be the target of such a campaign, amazing. But I see in the same way as I see inoculation of children against diseases. If it saves a child's life in some way, either by helping them to recognise that something that is going on, or that may go on in the future is abusive - then it's worth a few children who are 'fine' and would never be in danger being involved along the way. What you tell them at home shapes them far more than school anyway.

Sorry, I wasn't sure of your exact position re timing of information giving. I thought you said you were opposed to them being told of the existence of any practice that you don't believe in and took that to be regardless of when the revelation would take place.

But I don't want to be in a personal argument about it. I am a Christian woman, and luckily have found lots of fellow Christians who feel the same way as me about this topic. So for me, putting it down to religion and belief is not a door closing statement.

TheFallenNinja Sun 09-Jun-13 22:38:57

It's not about the content, it's about imposition.

Lets face it though, it won't go anywhere, like all these big ideas, nobody will be able to agree the content or tone of the subject matter and there will be all the groups opposed to one thing or another that will derail it anyway.

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 10-Jun-13 02:56:11

A narrower approach than contemplated by the proposed amendment, but one that is already the law in my US state:

"The health education curriculum for students in grades 7 through 12 shall include a teen dating violence and abuse component that includes, but is not limited to, the definition of dating violence and abuse, the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior, the characteristics of healthy relationships, measures to prevent and stop dating violence and abuse, and community resources available to victims of dating violence and abuse."

midnightexpress Mon 10-Jun-13 10:32:06

Interesting discussion. We were discussing some changes coming into force here (Scotland) next year at our school Parent Council meeting last week. In previous years, P6 (=Y5, more or less) pupils have had a talk from the school nurse about relationships, sex etc. This is now to fall to teachers because of budget cuts. The HT says that pupils have indicated that they would prefer to discuss some of these issues with someone who is not their class teacher; in other words, that they find it easier to discuss some of these things with people they don't know well than with people they do. Of course this is not true of all children, but it's worth bearing in mind that with the best will in the world, there may be things that pubescent children find hard to discuss with those close to them.

MmeLindor Mon 10-Jun-13 10:45:21

This isn't about YOU

This isn't about YOUR kids, and how you parent them.

It isn't a criticism of what you teach your kids.

It's really lovely that your kids are being brought up in a caring and tolerant environment but not all kids are that lucky.

They need to realise that it is not normal to see your mother being beaten, it's not normal to be told 'you are ugly.. you are so stupid', to be emotionally, physically and even sexually abused.

If schools don't talk about this with these kids, who will? Where will they find out that this is not normal, acceptable behaviour?

My kids don't need this talk, as it's something we discuss at home. Your kids don't need this talk cause you talk about it at home. That's brilliant for our kids.

This isn't for them. And it's selfish to deny the advice to children who really need it - for whom this could be life-changing - because of our cosy middle-class insistence on our rights.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 11:25:48

Here. Here's my blog about this.

One thing to say and then I'm off to pick my son up from school:

I don't think this has anything to do with our rights and everything to do with our inability to say 'I know XYZ parent doesn't do this, let's get their kids into the classroom and teach this to them, but ABC parents do do this so their kids don't have to learn it from school.'

We're so busy not offending anyone we're failing to teach our children that all people do not need to be treated the same. That life isn't fair. That it is okay to point out that not all parents are good at what they do and need some help.

Feel free to rip me to shreds. I'll be back after I get my son.

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 10-Jun-13 11:28:41

Maybe I didn't read it, but I didn't see anywhere where it stated what age they want to introduce these issues to children. Did I just miss it?

inraolyn Mon 10-Jun-13 13:17:23

I'm all for some sort of education. I just got the biology when I was at school and it left me woefully, woefully unprepared.

I never got a sit down conversation with my mum about things; she handed me a bright pink book called "sex tips for girls" and I was so embarrassed I never opened it. I expect it was supposed to be about confidence in relationships or how to have safe sex, but I just saw "sex" on something my mum had given me and immediately shoved it down the side of my bed never to look at again.

And you know what? When I was 19 I met my XH. Six months or so later I was pregnant because I had no idea what safe sex was and despite being 7 years older than me and knowing damn well, he was all too happy to not use condoms and tell me things were fine because he was pulling out. I believed him. Just like I believed it was normal for him to slate my family until I stopped talking to them, for him to tell me what to think or critisise me if I didn't think like him. I thought it was only fair that I stopped being silly sometimes because it made him cross. I thought it was normal for him to shout at me when I did something wrong - all adults have arguments, don't they? And sex. Well, if you're engaged to someone then you really should have sex with them shouldn't you? Even if you're tired and you say no, if they keep on asking, it's not fair for you to deny him when he's horny.

And what about when he yells at the kids? Well, he didn't mean to, he was feeling stressed because they were being loud, and you just have to make sure they play more quietly next time and then he won't get so cross, will he. You just have to stop making mistakes and then he won't get cross with you and ignore you all evening. And anyway, every time he does something he apologises, so that makes it all better, doesn't it?

I worked up the courage to tell him I wanted out last November, and I finally moved out in April. I'm still recovering emotionally from the shock of realising that all was not well, that my family could see it, that people who knew me could see it, but that I didn't know because I had never known anything else. Because no one ever sat down with me and told me what abuse was. I had to learn it here, hiding the tabs when he walked past.

I'll teach my kids to be safe. My DS and my DD will know to respect partners and friends, to never act in a way that puts someone they should love in the position I was in. But I never got that education. And there are thousands of children out there who are still not getting that education.

I'll take my DC being bored for a few hours at school when they're hearing stuff they already know over the chance of them being abused themselves, thanks. I respect that not everyone sees it the same way as me, but if there is an opportunity for schools to stop abuse before it happens, why the hell is anyone against that? This is not the ideal world we want it to be, where everyone is raised properly. There are parents out there abusing their own kids. There are parents out there so busy being abused they don't know how to explain what normal is. The only way it has a hope in hell of ending is if everyone has the same access to education about how to be safe and what is wrong. My XH is convinced to this day that he did nothing wrong. That it was my fault for not communicating. That I "changed" or "lied". Because, funny story, apparently no one ever told him how to be in a healthy relationship either.

lissieloo Mon 10-Jun-13 13:38:55

inraolyn has rather sadly, and brilliantly, demonstrated why this is such a good idea. Well done for leaving!

I also agree with MmeL's post at 10:45.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 13:52:33

What about faith schools? Are they going to force the Catholic schools to teach things that are against their doctrine and their faith? Such as same sex relationships?

midnightexpress Mon 10-Jun-13 13:55:32

Tee, I don't think you can run an effective state education system like that though, can you? If all parents are given the right to pick and choose what their children will and won't be taught, the whole system collapses. If you want to take advantage of a 'free at the point of use' education system, you will on occasion have to accept that some of it may not be the way you'd like it to be.

And I don't think there's anything 'lowest common denominator' about teaching children about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Quite the contrary.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 14:00:01

But it is, midnight, if the reason you are doing it is to cover those whose parents don't teach them.

It's different than math or english or science because pretty much no parents teach that, do they? I mean, they might play games or sing the alphabet song or read to their children, but they aren't sitting them down to discuss algebra.

But parents are and should teaching about sex and relationships. And those that aren't should be identified and those kids can be taught about it at school.

I live in NI, as I say in my blog. I can't see this being adopted here anyway since 99% (made up stat, but it's around that) of our schools are faith based. Abortion is illegal here. CP is legal for same sex couples but I doubt marriage ever will be.

So how can you call it the "national" curriculum anyway? It's not. It's the English curriculum, isn't it?

Offred Mon 10-Jun-13 14:13:15

Gosh I had a religious education on sex and relationships. Inadequate was not the word.

Part of the problem, and I'm totally shock at the naivety of some posters who seem to genuinely believe that their children will only be exposed to sex through them, is that from birth children are exposed to society's views of sex and relationships whether we as parents like it or not.

My experience of it was silence or some small amount of purely biological education at (religious) school, religion based "education" at home coupled with a total naivety about the level of sex and sexual pressure I was being exposed to outside the home which had a pretty toxic effect ranging from "my parents know nothing about this but if I speak to them about what I'm hearing/seeing/having done to me I will be judged".

You only need to visit a shop where all the "lads mags" are, be anywhere where a music channel or a soap or reality show might be on TV, there only needs to be one child in each playground with access to a mobile phone one time or an unhealthy attitufde towards sex for that phone or attitude to be spread round the whole school, especially when there is an attitude or feeling of censorship being projected by adults around which serves to both drive the behaviour underground and make it attractive.

When I was 10 at catholic primary one boy was bringing condoms in another was exposing himself and having the girls touch his willy. In high school (before mobiles) the porn and sexual bullying started... Everything is screaming that things are so much worse than this now... In high school the sex ed we had was pure biology but the teachers were all shagging each other and sometimes the students, messed up that sex couldnt be spoken about but could be done as long as it was secret...

I really think that proper sex ed of the type described in the op is not a substitute for home either, it is a compliment to what is spoken about at home and helpful. As a parent you cannot really believe that your attitude to sex is the only one your children will be exposed to, what is more important is which ones children are exposed to and whether they feel they can talk to you about those things they are being exposed to, the more adults speak about healthy relationships in settings outside the home the better and more confidently I think our children will handle their adolescence.

I would welcome this, I think we desperately need it.

midnightexpress Mon 10-Jun-13 14:36:39

Tee, as I said in my original post, many children don't want to talk to their parents about certain issues, regardless of how open their parents think they are with their children - it's not just for the benefit of children in obviously dysfunctional families. Exposing children to these messages from as many different people as possible seems to me to be an extremely good thing - I genuinely don't understand why anyone would believe it was a bad thing to reinforce positive messages and hear different points of view than your own (or your parents').

I'm not sure what the situation is in NI, but in Scotland education is a devolved issue, so these proposals do not affect us.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 14:48:07

There's lots of things children don't want to do, you make them do them anyway. That's part of being a parent, isn't it?

And I am also concerned as to what they'll be taught. Especially in faith schools who aren't going to teach what seems to be implied by the blog posted in the OP.

I don't believe I will be my son's only influence in regards to sex and relationships. I am just not sure the government should be one of those influences through the schools.

MmeLindor Mon 10-Jun-13 14:48:32

I think you are overestimating the amount of parents who will talk openly and honestly to their children about sex and relationships, Tee.

And this isn't about not offending parents by asking them if they intend to speak to their children about these topics, but about protecting the kids.

I don't give a rats arse who I offend when I bring up this topic, because these people are adults who can make their own decisions. The kids can't.

We can't pick and choose what schools teach our kids. I have already mentioned that some of the teachings of my kids' school don't please me. I am willing to let that go and say to the kids, 'Well, I know that is what you were taught, but it isn't how I see it. This is what I think...'.

Thank you for sharing your story. Nothing could demonstrate what I mean better than that. I am very glad that you have escaped, and that you are building a better life for yourself and your DC.

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 10-Jun-13 14:50:55

When I went to school my parents had to sign a permission slip for the teachers to discuss sexual education. You could allow the teacher to a) teach everything, b) teach everything except about contraception, or c) teach nothing. The school system did not break down and there were children's parents who denied permission. I don't see any problem with parents not wanting their children to learn about homosexuals or contraception, even though I personally do not have any objections. However, if they wanted to start teaching this at let's say 9 and younger, I think it's too young. However I tend to be old fashioned and behind the times in my views and I accept that.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 14:57:25

I think you're underestimating it MmeL and the fact that your blog about it is most hit and most searched for proves my theory. People are looking for the information on their own. Whether it's parents or children searching, I don't know, but someone is looking.

And that's a good thing, of course. And it's easier than it's ever been to find out about this sort of thing thanks to the internet.

I don't disagree about protecting children, of course, who would? But I am not sure I trust the schools or the government to protect them. There are too many cases where no one protect some specific ones who were, apparently, under the care of the government in some capacity.

And if you don't care about offending parents, then what's wrong with asking if they are talking to their children about sex/relationships? With finding out if they are being 'good parents' in the way you (general you) think they should be?

And who is going to decide what a good parent is, anyway?

MmeLindor Mon 10-Jun-13 15:03:20

People are searching for info - but it is hit and miss to what they find. I read that far-right groups put a lot of money into SEO so that when someone searches for info about abortion, their sites come up first on google. Not sure if it happens here - that was in US.

I'd be willing to ask parents, but would all schools? And should they be able to opt out?

The whole point of having a national curriculum is that kids should (in theory) get a similar education all over the country. When I lived in Germany, there was different curriculum in each of the states, and it made it very difficult for kids to move to a school in another state. Which makes the parents even less flexible to move areas, if they are looking for work.

Tee2072 Mon 10-Jun-13 15:07:29

But is it a national curriculum? Are they going to force faith schools to teach what is against their beliefs? And should they?

To answer my own question: no, it's not. Not if Scotland is automatically excluded, as I assume NI will be.

So it doesn't even affect me. grin

Offred Mon 10-Jun-13 15:39:11

I think fundamentally if their beliefs are offensive and discriminatory, as certain beliefs held by various fundamentalists about women and homosexuals are, then yes I think they should be required to teach against their beliefs actually if they are expecting to be a state educator and have funding from the government for providing education. I don't think religious belief should relieve anyone of their social duties towards other people and I don't think state schools should be relieved of their duty to teach in the public interest so that they can promote the church's private agenda as though it is a state sanctioned view.

amazingmumof6 Mon 10-Jun-13 15:49:49

<opens door an inch>

that is as twisted a logic as it can possible get offred

what our children learn from us will prepare them to be responsible and kind and generous and helpful and caring people. to benefit them and society.
precisely because of our beliefs.

and for the last time, it is not the content but the proposed execution of it that I'm against.

<locks door, throws away key>

Offred Mon 10-Jun-13 16:10:56

Which bit?

I mean obviously all parents hope that their influence in their children's lives will be a positive one. What I'm talking about is the other influences in your ch

Offred Mon 10-Jun-13 16:17:53


The other influences in your child's life and how you cannot hope to be the only influence.

inraolyn Mon 10-Jun-13 16:50:12

As far as I can see, in the interest of something being mandatory as opposed to nothing, it seems a no-brainer (to me at least) that children should be taught from, say, nine or ten (before secondary school at least, so maybe year six) how to spot abuse, and how to show respect for a partner or friend. As a bare minimum. It doesn't have to be about rape or violence even, just a few sessions on healthy friendships and how a marriage/civil partnership/relationship of a romantic nature between two adults is much the same, and should follow the same patterns of behaviour.

It's not about sitting very young children down and talking about rape or about safe sex. It's about setting the foundations for that education later; before they learn alternate behaviour. At nine or ten, children are starting to gain a broader awareness of the world. At eight, I had no idea what it really meant that my parents were separating. At ten, I understood that the man who stalked my mother was a Bad Person and can remember getting really cross and wanting the police to arrest him, even though my mother kept up an "everything is fine" act that she didn't let down until I was in my teens. (And it's why the notion of a cycle of abuse worries me so. I can clearly see the pattern of daughters whose mothers have been abuse going on to be abused themselves.)

My mother thought she was equipping me for the world with that book, which probably did have a lot of useful stuff in it. But she didn't know how to sit down and make sure I understood what it was all about. She was restrictive about me going out with friends, so I was 18 before I ever got so much as tipsy. (And while I don't advocate underage drinking, being the last one to experiment with alcohol by a number of years means that you're going in totally inexperienced while everyone else knows their limits, which is not a safe position at all.)

I don't think faith schools should be absolved from their responsibility to properly equip the children in their care with the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe. Should parents teach it at home? Of course they should. But that doesn't mean that they all can, and it certainly doesn't mean that they will.

Saying that it's "not like Maths or English" doesn't really wash for me. You would struggle in life without being able to read well, or write properly, or without being able to do numeracy work. Would you suffer from not knowing science? Well, that's debatable. Either way, while you would struggle a bit to get a job, people can and do get by in life quite well with only the most rudimentary education some of those areas. It's not good, but they can. Not knowing how to spot abuse could kill you, quite literally. People die in abusive relationships. People are beaten and cowed, and children grow up to continue that cycle down another generation. We need intervention to stop it continuing. You can learn to read at any age. It's harder to change a lifetime's learned behaviours.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 10-Jun-13 18:12:19

To those advocating this.

You do realise that the National Curriculum only applies to state schools?

Academies, independents, private, free, and faith schools do not have to teach the national curriculum.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 10-Jun-13 19:42:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 10-Jun-13 21:20:32

A maintained faith school will have to teach the NC, but not all faith schools are state funded.

wonkey80 Mon 10-Jun-13 21:25:15

You have totally hit the nail on the head Fliss. It's about every child/young person having a nationally agreed, standardised curriculum with regards relationships, consent, sex, pornography, abuse etc so everyone is on an equal footing. If parents want to clarify or supplement their education at home (like with anything else on the National
Curriculum) then that is their right to do so, but at least the child/young person has all of the same information as their peers.

SuffolkNWhat Tue 11-Jun-13 06:23:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFallenNinja Tue 11-Jun-13 07:29:51

And we are all honestly comfortable with this being handled by the state, specifically Michael Gove currently.

As I have said, I have no issue with the content, none whatsoever, but I believe that the government of the day (whoever they are) will make such a dogs breakfast of it that all usefulness will be lost and rather than it be simple subject matter it will be come political dogma

The state does not allow gay marriage (for now), some mainstream
faiths are openly an aggressively homophobic, how will that be reconciled, this wants to talk about equality but every now and again there is huge debate on the lack of it, there are many ideals that the current statute runs contrary to.

I've been on MN a while now and one thing I can absolutely say is that on various topics we are wanting to give the state control on are the ones that cause the biggest disagreement on this very forum and bring out the most hostility, not unlike this thread.

Of course, in principle, education is the right way to inform, but the message will be lost.

Offred Tue 11-Jun-13 08:45:35

I think you are missing the point that teachers and schools have to handle these issues anyway because for 6-7 hours a day our children and teachers are there in school conducting relationships... Some guidance and support with that would be helpful wouldn't it? Currently we have a ridiculous atmosphere of silence surrounding the discussion of what is actually going on in schools everywhere already - students are conducting relationships with each other, 1 in 3 of them containing abuse, teachers are conducting relationships with each other and students are gossiping about that possibility even when it isn't going on, sometimes students and teachers are conducting relationships, particularly in 6th form. It is happening, sex ed wont miraculously introduce the concept of sex and relationships into schools, it will help open lines of communication and provide a standard and support teachers and pupils if it is done right.

Abuse thrives in the current climate of titilation and prudishness.

This isn't gove's idea. I doubt gove will be in favour of it.

fluffy3 Tue 11-Jun-13 16:54:28

Like many things the government does - great idea - appallingly executed.
On the surface this issue seems so simple and just good sense, but as we see from experience, once agreed to, this will become a Trojan horse that opens the door to groups of people with questionable motives that had you prior known about it, you would never have agreed to.
Take sex education for example, seems a great idea, to ask your teacher to take responsibility for a sensitive job that really, as a parent, comes with the territory. Beware - you are allowing someone to come between you and your child.
I agree not all parents want to talk about this tough subject but for those of us confident to do it, I don't see why my requirements cant be accommodated - we are a free democracy - or are others afraid of alternative opinions? I don't want anyone with a different agenda talking to my child without my knowledge and agreement.
I speak from experience, I went to my school and asked for information about PHSE / Sex ed. curriculum for Year 6. The school have misled me and put material in front of my child that was completely inappropriate.
Good Sex ed? In practice, it is far a few between
If the government wants to RECOMMEND, then that is one thing but with all these conversations about same sex marriage and homosexuality I certainly don't want the government to slide this in hidden in wrappings of awareness of domestic violence awareness.
Recommend - yes compel - no thank you

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 11-Jun-13 17:12:00


the point is that a large amount of children will not be taught this as many types of school do not have to follow the national curriculum.

OddSockMonster Tue 11-Jun-13 17:50:20

Does anyone know how this panned out today?

MsMarple Tue 11-Jun-13 18:24:24

This is absolutely insane. You acknowledge that 'There is strong evidence of a link between explicit images and a rise in sexual aggression and harassment of the opposite sex.' and yet you are proposing a programme that will make very sure that children are exposed to explicit ideas/images from a very young age - even if their parents have taken great pains to protect them from inappropriate images. Seems to me you will end up increasing the damage.

Surely it would be better to join the campaigns to remove pornography from sight in newsagents and clean up the sexual imagery on television, billboards, online and in video games, so that children aren't exposed to this everywhere they turn in the first place.

Is it possible to only give sex education to young people when they are individually ready for it? Otherwise it seems to me that the state will be just another violator.

Neverland2013 Tue 11-Jun-13 23:31:35

I agree with amazingmumof6 - 'I prefer to be in charge of what my children learn regarding those topics above.'
I don't think that even more sex education will reduce teenage pregnancies. I was born in the Czech Republic and although sex education is not taught until the age of 13, teenage pregnancies are still very rare.

katiebrown1969 Wed 12-Jun-13 07:31:31

I certainly would agree to the notion of sex ed,positive r/ships,being good friends and generally being a nice,polite,accepting member of society being taught in all schools.BUT I would like to know what is being taught so that I am aware of what my child has been told,I wouldn`t want to confuse her over something that is my point of view or particular thinking.
My daughter is in year 1 (6 years old) and came out of school yesterday and told me she had a boyfriend and how fit he was.Gosh I was shocked,Even more so when I realised it was a young man out of a popular pop group.I am not even aware she knew the group or the music.
Geared towards respective ages I don`t think anyone is too young to be given the guidance/information in a responsible manner.

amazingmumof6 Wed 12-Jun-13 07:35:29

same in Hungary neverland

good old communism? grin grin grin

amazingmumof6 Wed 12-Jun-13 07:39:37

and thank also, I'm chuffed you quoted me!wink

<realizes revolving doors can't be locked easily>

VillaVillekulla Wed 12-Jun-13 09:12:48

I agree with the blog and with the principle of making sex ed compulsory and to cover relationships and consent. I think the Tories and Lib Dems voted against the amendment yesterday sad angry

amazingmumof6 Wed 12-Jun-13 15:40:12

did they?


bumbleandbumble Wed 12-Jun-13 21:55:59

ugh. this thread makes me ...ugh

If you want total control over your childrens education, home school.

If you want them to enjoy a decent school for free, then send them to a state school where they should be taught a variety of topics including a broad based up to date sex education. If you send your children to a free state run school you simply cannot be expected to like/agree with every method/topic and how it is taught. the topics are for the greater good and will not be perfectly tailored to your liking...that is why good parents step in and supplement learning.

psychologymum Wed 12-Jun-13 23:40:37

I can understand why some people may be against teachers discussing same-sex relationships on religious grounds. However, I am a psychology teacher and we cover topics related to same-sex relationships as part of the curriculum anyway, which perhaps parents don't know e.g. the ineffectiveness of aversion therapy when it was used for homosexuality in the 1960s.

Discussion of sexual violence, domestic violence and sexual consent cannot be against anyone's beliefs and should definitely be covered in PSHE in my opinion.

amazingmumof6 Thu 13-Jun-13 03:18:02

bumble shock you are kidding, right?

Last time I checked the teachers salary were paid from tax payers money.
that makes teachers our employees, technically - and yes, they do answer to us about what the heck is going on at school!
they can not have sovereign power over our kids, but should work in a supportive partnership based on two-way communication with the parents! which is what my experience has been so far, not dictatorship!

just because the school is free that doesn't mean the teachers can have total control of every aspect of the pupils education without the parents' permission or even worse, in direct opposition of them, against their wishes or while ignoring their religions views.

The alternative is not home education.
If it was, I would consider it
but for now it is not necessary to take my kids out of school, we are doing perfectly well!
they are allowed to be excluded from any lessons we object to on occasion.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 13-Jun-13 06:34:37

"Last time I checked the teachers salary were paid from tax payers money.
that makes teachers our employees, technically."

Technically it doesn't.

SuffolkNWhat Thu 13-Jun-13 08:02:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddSockMonster Thu 13-Jun-13 11:07:02

That's a shame Villa

OddSockMonster Tue 18-Jun-13 12:55:57

I know this thread has kind of gone to sleep now but I just thought I'd let you know the key bits my response from contacting my local (Labour) MP, as it answers a couple of the issues various people have has problems with.

"On 11th June Labour called a vote in the House of Commons to place PSHE (including sex and relationship education) in the National Cirriculum, at all 4 Key Stages (in primary and secondary schools - with the provision of 'age appropriate guidance'). The content would be put out to consultation to ensure it would be age appropriate for children at different stages, and the new clause would give parents the right to opt their child out of sex and relationship education up to the age of 15. Unfortunately the amendment was defeated."

These links were also included...

amazingmumof6 Wed 19-Jun-13 10:55:42

"*and the new clause would give parents the right to opt their child out of sex and relationship education up to the age of 15.*"

as I said all the way through, I agree with the idea , it was the thought all of it being obligatory that I was against.

but I have to add, that if it had been accepted, and I'm pretty sure it will be at some point, my worry would have been that despite the clause for opting out would have ended being scrapped after a while - a la drip-feeding tactics

so for now I wish it had been accepted as proposed to benefit a large amount of children, no doubt, but I don't think it is something that's gone away entirely.

oddsock thanks for posting that.

OddSockMonster Wed 19-Jun-13 12:50:54

You're welcome, I thought of you specifically when I read that.

I also wonder if it was made clear when it was taken to parliament, and if that would have made a difference. Hopefully it will continue to be debated and come back at some point soon.

First time I've written to my MP. I got a very good letter back, mentioning some of the other child protection work she's heavily involved in too. Starting to form the opinion she's a very decent person smile

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