Sexting to online porn: What should sex education lessons cover?

Sexting, online pornography, staying safe online, transgender issues – The BBC asks should these topics be included in new sex and relationships education (SRE) guidelines for schools in England? 

The Department for Education is asking parents and young people for their opinions in an eight-week call for views on what should be covered. The current SRE guidelines have not been updated since the year 2000. Ministers say this is “unacceptable” and want new guidance for autumn 2019.

The drive to improve and update SRE in schools in England comes as figures collected by BBC Panorama show a rise in the number of sexual assaults by children.

In March the DfE announced that SRE would be compulsory in all England’s schools – meaning in academies as well as council-run schools.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “It is unacceptable that relationships and sex education guidance has not been updated for almost 20 years, especially given the online risks – such as sexting and cyber-bullying – our children and young people face.”

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “We know that children and young people experience sexual harassment and violence, and online they are exposed to images and content which can be very disturbing.

“It is vital that schools give children the information they need about sex, consent and healthy relationships.”

The eight-week consultation will be led by Ian Bauckham, who was awarded the CBE in 2017 for services to education. Mr Bauckham is head teacher of a large Church of England comprehensive school in Kent.

Read more Sexting to online porn: What should sex education lessons cover?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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