The Huffington Post reports that the Department for Education’s recent announcement that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) will be mandatory in schools, starting at age 4, is one that may scare some teachers.
For a teacher speaking to a classroom full of children delivering SRE could be an embarrassing prospect. While these fears are valid, they can be based on misguided ideas about what it is that is being taught, and how; – a Science lesson on the biology of sex here, a PSHE session with condoms and bananas there. What is missing from this model is the relationships aspect of SRE, which needs to be the foundation for understanding RSE.
This is why the Department for Education have recently recognised the need to emphasise the ‘R’ in SRE – focusing on the Relationships as key to healthy sexual interactions. Schools will therefore be introducing Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Relationships Education (RE) from age 4 come September 2019.
Surveys carried out with parents in the UK also demonstrate a high demand for primary schools to teach SRE. Both parents and young people want and need information to be given around sex and relationships in schools, but also that there is not enough focus on the relationships part of SRE.
The Government’s new regulations state that pupils will learn about safety in forming and maintaining relationships, what healthy relationships look like and how relationships affect physical and mental health and wellbeing – all at an age appropriate level.
The Government’s new legislation is an opportunity to implement real, lasting change for children and young people’s emotional health. This can be achieved by taking on a broad approach to RSE and embedding it into every part of school life, alongside information about sex that is contextualised with learning around healthy relationships.
While some of these actions are in the hands of schools, the Government must also provide adequate funding so schools can offer training, professional development and resources to their staff, especially for those delivering RSE.
Would you offer to teach RSE or is it too ‘scary’? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin
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