Advanced search

Sex & relationships education in schools (England & Wales) - tell the Government what you think....

(60 Posts)
MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Mar-13 15:35:01


Do you agree with how and when sex and relationships education (SRE) is taught in schools, and - if not - what do you think can be done to improve it? We've been asked by The Sex Education Forum (SEF) to draw your attention to the current Government consultation on the National Curriculum.

The SEF says that the proposals in this consultation make no change to the status of SRE or PSHE in schools in terms of support or funding.

In fact the SEF says a closer look at the proposed curriculum reveals that the names for external genitalia have been omitted from the list of body parts taught to children at Key Stage 1; that the term 'puberty' has been left out of both primary and secondary school curricula (and only referenced in the phrase "growing into adults"); and that the terms 'adolescence', 'foetal development', 'fertilisation' and 'sexual health' have been removed from the Key Stage 3 curriculum entirely, and replaced with "the effect of drugs on behaviour, health and life processes" and "the structure and function of male and female reproductive organs" without details of hormones. This in effect, argues the SEF, delays the teaching of contraception until Key Stage 4 when pupils are 14-16.

What are your thoughts on the proposed changes to SRE teaching in schools? Is 14-16 too late to introduce the teaching of contraception? What about omitting the integral stages of 'puberty' and 'adolescence' from science terminology in schools?

One in 3 young people says their SRE is "poor" or "very poor" (Sex Education Forum, 2008), and around one in four young people says they don't get any SRE in school at all; of those that do, around a quarter (26%) say their SRE teacher isn't able to teach it well (Brook survey 2011). A Mumsnet survey in 2011 told us that a very high proportion of parents (98%) are happy for their children to attend SRE lessons and that 89% of parents think SRE should start in primary schools, from the ages of 4 to 11 years. Furthermore 90% think there should be a statutory duty on all schools, including faith schools and academies (currently able to opt-out), to deliver comprehensive SRE.

If you want to engage with the consultation, it closes on 16th April and you can submit your responses via this link. You may also, of course, wish to comment on other aspects of the curriculum consultation; as ever, do please use this thread to let us know what you think.


Ronaldo Sat 30-Mar-13 17:43:28

To each her own. If it suits you can hold 'sex talks' with your 5 yr old daughter (God help her)

My thoughts exactly. I am not at all sure my DS knows or wants to know how babies are made in terms of sex.

The sex act is private and should be so. My DS has seen many animlas have chicks. kittens puppies etc. but I am fairly sure how that happened has bothered him.

I think that sometimes we are offering too much information.

Meglet Mon 01-Apr-13 16:45:07

I spoke to DS about sex, how babies were made and how they came out when he started reception year at the age of 5. The last thing I wanted to happen was him hearing silly rumours about sex / babies in the playground. Telling children how babies are made and the basics about sex is as essential as telling them about what their lungs are for or what bones are, we cover all that so there is no point in avoiding sex.

FWIW he still believes in Father Xmas and the tooth fairy.

I was told about sex from a young age, first had sex at 22 and pregnancy at 32. Knowing about sex / babies and relationships does not make children tear off and do it.

Personally I think the teachers should cover it around year 3/4. Get in early before some of the children start developing and the girls start their periods.

BertieBotts Mon 01-Apr-13 17:56:46

I am shocked that people really think talking to a small child about sex (and yes I DO believe this can be done in an age appropriate manner) is some kind of "slippery slope" to encouraging 5 year olds to experiment - I mean really?? How totally ridiculous and offensive.

I also find the comments about boys and chastity/virginity really disturbing. Talk about slut shaming. There's nothing wrong with wanting to wait to have sex,but talk about second hand goods and having any kind of expectation/claim really about someone's past isn't on.

averyyoungkitten Tue 02-Apr-13 10:09:44

Teaching children about sex at younger and younger ages has not solved any of the problems it was supposed to address like teenage pregnancy and promiscuity, sex related infections and underage experimentation so it is a failed exercise in my opinion. What is needed is a social and attitude change. Policies that work in other countries do not work here because we do not have the same kinds of society.

The same goes for boys attitudes to girls and sex. I have heard similar things from my DS recently too. It has always been the case that boys see girls who are sexually willing that way. Being disturbed by it won’t change it and just because we have a society that tells girls they can be as free as they like won’t change views either. It may make some think rather than speak but when people think and cannot speak, they think all the more I find.

Wellthen Tue 02-Apr-13 11:40:53

Teaching children about sex at younger and younger ages has not solved any of the problems it was supposed to address like teenage pregnancy and promiscuity, sex related infections and underage experimentation so it is a failed exercise in my opinion.

Based on what research? In which country?

Although I agree it isnt so much the age as the quality of the sex ed. Countries that have low teenage birth rates dont necessarily start young but their attitude to sex is completely diffferent. It isnt seen as dirty, there isnt nothing 'young people shouldnt know'

I just dont understand squeamishness about telling 5 year olds about sex. They have no concept of desire, they genuinely see it as 'the man puts his elbow in her leg'. The earlier the better I would say and then they simply see it as a fact of life. There is no evidence that telling children about sex causes them to experiment with it at such a young age.

BertieBotts Tue 02-Apr-13 14:05:22

I would think I had failed as a parent if I heard my DS going on about "damaged goods" in respect to people.

MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Apr-13 16:08:43

Hello all - if at all of interest, here is the Sex Education Forum's official response to the consultation, which raises some of the points discussed here about proposals affecting SRE teaching in schools.


Linketty Thu 04-Apr-13 12:45:30

Are other parents/grandparents as concerned as I am, that it is so easy for children, as young as 11yrs. to access violent pornographic images and activities on their i-pads, mobile phones and computers?

I, personally, favour an opt-in method of accessing this stuff, rather than the opt-out system, which exists at the moment, which would give some young people a measure of protection. However, Parliament has, apparently, rejected this idea.

The problem with opting out is that many parents are unaware of the problem or are too harrassed and busy to find out how to do it. I have discovered that the matter is going thro' the House of Lords and a second reading of Lady Elspeth Howe's Bill urging that the opt-in system be adopted will be considered later this year.

I feel so sorry for these youngsters who are being shown these abusive images by their friends and in some cases are being traumatised and/or addicted to porn. Surely they will find it difficult to form loving, mature relationships with men/women later on?

I am investigating the possibility of launching a petition, with the help of 38, for people to sign in favour of the opt-in system. Would Mumsnet members support it?

chickensaladagain Fri 05-Apr-13 22:50:47

my concern is that it is all based in science

my dds knew about sex from whenever it was they asked

dd1 when she had just turned 7 said 'I know babies grow in mummy's tummy, and I know they get there from a special grown up cuddle, but EXACTLY how does that happen?'

'sex ed' took place at the end of yr5

they do yr 5&6 together alternate years and dd was amazed at how many of the girls didn't know anything about anything including periods

easter in yr 6 -they had a talk about changing bodies and personal hygiene hmm maybe a bit back to front

for sex education to be effective, children need to know that they have a right to say no and saying no is ok, that if their 13 year old friends are going around saying they have all had sex then they are lying, that it's not a race to do it first, that with the right person sex is very enjoyable, that you should respect yourself and your partner(s) enough not to jump from bed to bed, having sex is not the only way to show someone you love them, to use barrier contraception and if the boy says it's no fun with a condom, then tell him it's even less fun with no condom!

you don't get that in a science lab!

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 07-Apr-13 19:42:41

Message from a parent blindfishideas and I think it is regrettable there is nothing in your post about this.

Sex should be about more than lust, it should also be about love, it should also involve mutual respect and an awareness of the risks and should only happen with contraception and in an established loving relationship

It should not happen before age 16; it can wait until marriage. It is not the be all and the end all, it is OK to say NO and nobody should ever feel pressured to have sex they don't want.

The disadvantages of teen pregnancy need to be spelled out and some of the basics highlighted.

That is what should be at the heart of sex education and without the above any sex education is utterly worthless.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: