By Andy Merrett
Oct 24, 2008
UK Government to standardise sex and relationships education for 5-16s
British government ministers have admitted that the provision for sex and relationships education in the UK is “patchy”, and has proposed a revamp of the system which will see five-year-olds learning about relationships.
When the BBC polled one-thousand people, it found that two-thirds supported the concept of sex education lessons in schools from the age of 11.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said that there was “a need to challenge the perception that sex and relationships education happened in a ‘moral vacuum’ in schools and … that parents and schools can and should work together to decide how best topics should be taught.”
Various issues need to be handled sensitively, such as the right for faith-based schools to modify the programme to include their own moral beliefs, while still providing consistent education.
“We are not suggesting that five and six-year-olds should be taught sex,” said minister for schools, Jim Knight. “What we are saying is we need to improve in particular the relationship education, improve the moral framework and moral understanding around which we then talk about sex later on in a child’s education.”
Though a number of organisations and charities have welcomed the news, the head of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), John Dunford, has raised concerns that a centrally-managed policy of personal, social and health education could take away the rights of an individual school to tailor its education programme in a way that best suits its individuals.
“It is part of the ethos of the school, helping to develop the young person in ways that schools deem most appropriate to their circumstances,” he said. “It should not be the subject to further central prescription and certainly not compulsion.”
The way sex education is taught (or not taught) in schools will always be a contentious issue to some, but hopefully the new proposals will ensure at least a minimum standard of education, not simply confined to biology, that can be tailored according to the needs of each individual school.
What do you think?
(Via BBC News)