Bristol pupils aged 10 to be taught about risk of genital mutilation

Children of 10 and 11 are being taught about female genital mutilation for the first time as primary schools join the effort to eradicate the practice, which is a criminal offence. This is from the Times…

Pupils can find it distressing or embarrassing to learn about the African tradition of cutting girls’ genitals, teachers involved in the initiative said. But children needed to be made aware of signs that they or their friends were at risk, they said.

The need for awareness is great in the summer break before secondary school begins when thousands of British children are taken abroad to be cut.

St Werburgh’s Primary School, Bristol, is thought to be the first to embed the subject in personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons, which address issues such as body changes and female empowerment.

Bristol City Council, which covers a large Somali community and is leading a campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), said that in the past year ten other primary schools had had training about the issue.

The council is urging all schools to “address FGM” regardless of their racial mix. Head teachers can choose whether to implement the training and parents can opt not to have their children in such sessions. At four secondary schools in the area, a role-play exercise called the FGM Game, and a DVD are used to help teenagers to understand, report and prevent the crime.

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