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Sex Education for teens is still out of date

Sex education guidance still ‘woefully’ out of date in new curriculum

The new national curriculum still points to “woefully” out of date sex and relationship

teaching material despite David Cameron promising to bring it into the internet age.

David Cameron has admitted sex education needs to be updated to reflect the dangers of

online porn.

Teenagers outline how he could help push through meaningful changes. 

By Louisa Peacock, Deputy Women’s Editor

7:00AM BST 17 Sep 2013

The revised curriculum, published last week, referred secondary schools to the official sex and relationship

education guidance when teaching in this area. However, a huge number of groups including the NSPCC,

Mumsnet, Girl Guides and teachers’ unions have warned the current guidance is 13 years old and not fit for

purpose, which is hampering schools’ efforts to provide meaningful lessons to pupils.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister vowed to update sex and relationship education to bring it into the 21st

century and make sure teachers were equipped to talk to pupils about the “dangers” of the internet, following a

campaign for better sex education by Telegraph Wonder Women.

But charities working with children and young people are worried that the updated curriculum ignores attempts

to modernise teaching and sends “confusing” messages about what quality sex education looks like.

Lucy Emmerson, coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, which includes the National Children’s Bureau and

Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The combination of the 2000 SRE guidance and the very basic level of sex

education included in the new national curriculum leaves schools unclear about what constitutes a modern SRE

programme. Schools need fresh advice about how to provide the modern SRE that parents and children alike are

asking for.”

Jules Hillier, deputy chief executive of Brook, the young person’s charity, said: “Now the new national

curriculum has been published it is even more important we have SRE guidance that is up to date, written by

experts, and reflects the social and technological change we have had over the last 13 years.

“Young people have told us that SRE guidance and teaching needs to be relevant to today’s society, and it is

crucial that young people are central to development of the guidance and delivery of SRE.”

A poll by children’s charity NSPCC, commissioned by The Daily Telegraph, found seven in 10 young people

think porn should be talked about in the classroom, making current sex education guidance “woefully

inadequate” for the digital era.

But alongside the new curriculum, an official Department for Education document said: “When any school

provides SRE they must have regard to the Secretary of State’s guidance; this is a statutory duty.”

The Telegraph Wonder Women campaign to bring sex education into the 21st century has been supported by

groups and individuals including: the Girl Guides, Claire Perry – the Prime Minister’s children’s adviser, Tim

Loughton – the Conservative MP and former Children’s Minister, Dame Tessa Jowell – the Labour MP, Mumsnet,

Professor Tanya Byron, the largest teachers’ union – the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of

Headteachers, teachers’ union NASUWT, the Children’s Commissioner – Dr Maggie Atkinson, the PSHE

Association, the Sex Education Forum, and the Mother’s Union.

A petition calling for better sex education has been signed by over 30,000 people at

change.org/bettersexeducation

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