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It is thought that sex education in schools could be at risk of being “watered down” if the proposed changes to England’s science curriculum go ahead. According to a team of experts, sex education should be “unambiguously” included in science lessons. A coalition of organisations has formed to promote this idea.
The letter has been signed by more than 100 organisations and individuals ranging from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to Mumsnet, the Sex Education Forum and the National Children’s Bureau. The group argues the planned changes will not help schools create an honest and open culture around sex and relationships and is more like to foster problematic ideas within schools. It urges the government “to put any adult squeamishness about sex aside”.
Its mission statement says: “The National Curriculum science is the only compulsory part of sex and relationships in education in schools and must teach children about how their bodies work to prepare them for growing up and to protect them from harm.”
The group is specifically concerned that children will not be taught about sexual reproduction and puberty at an early stage and that some will already be experiencing changes in their bodies without having been taught about what to do with them and that they are a normal aspect of growing up.
The Sex Education Forum says that the plans leave a gap in teaching about reproduction in primary school. The forum highlights the section in the draft which says that six- and seven-year-olds should be taught about the process of reproduction and growth in animals but which also says that at this age pupils “should not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs”.