When I watched this video on the Independents website this morning after seeing the headline “Sex education to be made compulsory in all schools in England, government confirms”….I was elated. What a massive step in the right direction, what great news after charities and activists have campaigned long and hard for a change in the outdated PSHE system. I had even created a parody video myself, satirising the outmoded Sex education videos I had been subjected to at school which had offered little insight into the truly confusing world of sex and relationships I discovered as an adult. But there is always a catch……
In the main, this is really good news. I’m not going to sour the positive aspects of this story, it is a bold move for the education secretary to make against much backlash from some conservatives. However, parents will still have the option to remove their children from Sex and Relationship education classes and faith schools will still be allowed to teach “in accordance with the tenets of their faith”, although it remains unclear how this will be monitored.” Now this to me seems to leave the word “compulsory” rather redundant in the headline if parents can still remove their children from classes, and Catholic school can still refuse to teach young people to use condoms.
It is my strongly held belief that every child should be given the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of human nature and relationships. For their mental wellbeing and especially for their psychical health, this right should not be affected by their parents prudishness, political views or religious beliefs. We are denying young people an introduction into a basic passage of human relationships, we are denying them scientific knowledge of their own bodies and our evolution. We are denying ourselves future researchers, sexologists, activists and artists. It is of no doubt that most of these young people will eventually find their own way (as most of us have) and that sex education at school will be looked back upon as a laughable, awkward couple of days of workshops. But creative, frank, informative sex education could truly open up our societies – not to mention the overwhelming evidence that STI’s and teenage pregnancies sky rocket in places where sex education is abstinence based and/or faith based and fall in places where it is taught appropriately from a young age.
In an ever increasingly multicultural Britain, sex and relationship education could not be more relevant and in desperate need of an overhaul to cater for the different cultures and customs that are now gracing our shores. I hope much positive change can come from this new initiative by the government, and fingers crossed it will not be too long until Sex and Relationship education is truly mandatory and inclusive for everyone.
Here is an article I enjoyed reading in the Guardian about why everyone deserves Sex and Relationship education.