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Sex and relationships education in schools: come tell us what you think(28 Posts)
A while back we ran this survey on sex education, which gave us quite a lot of detail on what MNers think about when and what children should be taught about, sex-wise, in schools (primary and secondary).
This is an issue that we still get asked about a lot, and as our survey was a while ago - and we didn't go into the relationships side of sex ed very much - we thought we'd open this up again to you.
In particular, we're interested in your thoughts about the 'relationships' side of sex and relationships education (SRE) - and whether you think that more/better SRE could lead to people forming healthier relationships (both intimate 'partner' relationships and other social or work-based relationships) as adults. Or do you think that this sort of emotional/relationships education is more a parental responsibility? Or that it would have little bearing on people's emotional lives as adults?
We'd also love to know what you think about the following topic areas. Should they form part of SRE in schools? If so, how should they be addressed, and at roughly what age?
a) sexual consent - how to give it, and how to recognise it - and (conversely) how to say 'no' to things you aren't happy with
b) self-respect and self-esteem, and having respectful attitudes to others
c) what a healthy sexual/emotional relationship looks like
e) separate SRE sessions tailored specifically for boys and girls
Plus of course anything else you think of!
Re the Telegraph campaign and MN supporting it.
I would prefer MN to directly campaign for consent: http://www.campaign4consent.co.uk/ ..
I worry that the Telegraph are not necessarily the best people to partner with and I suspect that the right-wing slant will lead to victim blaming/women and girls as gatekeepers.
I think MN should talk to the organisations they partnered with on #webelieveyou to ensure that we get a woman centered message.
I do think schools should teach enthusiastic consent, not just no means no. There was very much an onus in the sex ed I had (after the year 2000) that the girls were the gate-keepers, and at some point we would be pressured into doing something we didn't want to. We even had an abstinance campainer come in and talk about how important it was for girls to not have sex, and how we would face all the consequences but there would be none for boys (obviously untrue as a male can get an STI too, and be prosecuted for having sex with a 15yo if he is over 16).
I think there should have also been some emphasis on how to tell if you are ready, beyond "it's illegal if you're under 16". We had a sex ed talk in sixth form, which assumed we were all sexually active. I knew people who were still virgins and I think this may have added the pressure on them to be having sex.
We did get very good information about STIs, and our contraception choices.
We did talk about relationships, and how we might solve problems in an adult way, but it wasn't really that relevant to teenagers. There was no teaching of issues like red flags, or where to go for help if your partner was abusive. Porn was not discussed at all.
I also think all teachers should be educated in how they talk to/treat children and teens. It is no good if you tell children (especially girls) one thing in sex-ed, but then teachers use victim blaming language in classes. I also think teenage boys were allowed to carry out low level sexual harassment and this was never dealt with.
Oh, and the best discussion about rape I had was in my psychology A level class! It was mostly female dominated, which helped, I think. It was in the context of low conviction rates for rape, and it really helped me consolidate in my mind what rape actually was (and also that it was ok to say yes and then change your mind).
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