Sex education goes further than just teaching kids about the birds and the bees. It involves discussing sexuality, healthy relationships, consent, and sexual development. What’s more, LGBT+ issues will now be discussed as part of mandatory sex and relationship classes at UK schools from September 2019.
The UK's Department for Education is launching an eight-week-long call for evidence, allowing parents, teachers, and kids to share their thoughts on what topics should be included in sex and relationships education. The call for change comes after Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that sex and relationship education would become mandatory in UK schools. The sex and relationship syllabus hasn't been updated for 17 years, so this new step is incredibly important, particularly due to the rise in sexting, and the increasing availability of porn online.
The new call for evidence will look specifically at what type of information should be included in the new sex and relationships curriculum to equip children and teens with what they need to know.
A representative from the Stonewall campaign for equality told The Telegraph, “We know from our research with LGBT young people that the vast majority do not hear about LGBT issues in RSE [relationship and sex education], leaving them ill-equipped to make safe, informed decisions about their relationships, health and wellbeing.”
This holds some truth as a piece of research conducted by Stonewall in 2014, The Teachers' Report, showed that half of primary school teachers were aware of homophobic bullying in their schools. Meanwhile, one-third said that boys who "behave or act like girls" or are not into sports also suffer from bullying.
In addition, over one in ten teachers said that students whose parents or guardians identified as gay were bullied, and seven in ten said that they hear children using homophobic language. Therefore, tackling this issue through education is essential.
Greening told Sky News, "The world's changed a lot since , not least the online risks that our children and young people face, whether cyberbullying, the huge amount of inappropriate material that is on the internet and sex." Hence, updating the curriculum is certainly a positive step.