Friday 6 November 2009

Sex education in England

This week I have heard from two different people, (on two different days) stories about what England and Scotland are teaching their primary school and secondary school children and what they plan to teach them. I found what they said unbelievable and decided to look into it myself. So far this is what I found...


Teenagers should be told “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, according to a new booklet produced by the NHS.

A new leaflet, entitled Pleasure, says health promotion experts focus too much on encouraging ’safe sex’ and not enough on enjoyment.

It has been circulated to teachers, parents and youth workers.

Under the heading “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, the leaflet says: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?”

One of the authors of the leaflet, Steve Slack, Director of the Centre for HIV & Sexual Health at NHS Sheffield, claimed that as long as teenagers are fully informed about sex and are making their decisions free of peer pressure and as part of a caring relationship, they have as much right as an adult to a good sex life.

The booklet has been endorsed by Brook and FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association), two sexual health charities who advise the Government on its sex education policies.

But family campaigner Dr Trevor Stammers said the leaflet would encourage ‘risky’ behaviour and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

“It is unbelievable that this is being sent to schools”, he said.

“I’d like to know what scientific evidence there is to back this up. There are an awful lot of overpaid and under-occupied health promotion officers around who are obsessed with sex.”

He added: “If the NHS wants to promote a healthy heart, as it says it does in this leaflet, it should put the money into reducing smoking and alcohol”.

“Underage sex is as dangerous as underage drink and usually leads to sexual ill-health”, he continued.

Last week it emerged that a £6 million project aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy had actually increased conceptions among the girls involved.

The failed project, which involved giving teenagers information about sex and providing free condoms, led to calls for the Government to scrap its policy of tackling the problem of underage sexual activity with increasing levels of sex education.

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote: “By any reckoning, it is a monumental failure. Yet I predict that all those on the Left will yet again insist that only more sex education will help free these young women.

“They will insist that only this can free them from the fate that otherwise awaits them, repeating the cycle of teen parenthood through future generations.

“But how can this be right? It makes no sense to me at all, repeating a prescription that is manifestly failing.”

All Scots schools
to have sex clinic

Every Scottish secondary school should have a sex clinic, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Roman Catholic Church has strongly criticised the move saying it is “arguably the most counterproductive development in public health ever seen”.

The sex clinics will offer children free condoms and pregnancy tests.

Parents will not be told about their children using these services unless the young people are deemed to be “abused or exploited”.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “It is vital that young people’s services are available when and where they require them.”

She also said: “Where possible, services will be provided in all schools”.

The spokeswoman added: “When a school cannot provide this service an alternative service will be provided within 20 minutes walking distance from the school.”

Roman Catholic schools will not be required to have the clinics.

Peter Kearney, speaking for the Roman Catholic Church, said: “A general increase in sexual health services over the past ten years has been mirrored exactly by an explosion in sexual health problems.

“As these services have expanded, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies and abortions have exploded.

“This approach is tantamount to pouring petrol on a fire.”

The Scottish Conservative deputy leader, Murdo Fraser said: “This needs to be done in full consultation with parents because many, many parents will be concerned, if not potentially alarmed, that children as young as eleven will be exposed to these messages.”

The plans come in a new report entitled Do The Right Thing.

The roll out to all secondary schools follows a pilot project run in rural schools.

Dr David Paton at Nottingham University has clearly stated that the Westminster Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy has been “absolutely disastrous”.

He said in March that since the strategy began diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections have increased while the rate of decline in pregnancy rates has slowed.

He said: “The hope was the more money you spend the faster and faster the declines – in fact we have seen the opposite, the declines have decreased.”

Further evidence came after a scheme which aimed to promote safe sex among teenagers actually increased the likelihood of the girls becoming pregnant.

The scheme gave free condoms to under 16s and the morning-after pill to schoolgirls in the Lothians.

Figures released in 2004 showed that girls in the scheme aged between 13 and 15 were 14% more likely to get pregnant than their counterparts elsewhere in Scotland.

Before the scheme was launched the figure was just 3%.

Sex ed lobby: teach
kids sexual pleasure

Sex education should include teaching children about sexual pleasure in order to cut teenage pregnancies, according to an influential lobby group.

The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) was involved in pushing for the compulsory sex education lessons to be rolled out in primary and secondary schools next year.

The group was set up to advise the Government on its current Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which ends next year and is on course to fall dramatically short of its target to halve teenage conceptions.

Now it wants a new Teenage Pregnancy Strategy to include frank discussions of sexual pleasure in order, it says, to help children make responsible decisions about sex.

The suggestion was backed by sexual health charity Brook, a member of TPIAG.

Brook’s Chief Executive, Simon Blake, said: “We need a grown-up conversation with young people.

“We need to make sure they are having sex when they are ready and for the right reasons, are able to enjoy it and take responsibility for it.”

Among the members of TPIAG is Professor Roger Ingham of the University of Southampton, one of the authors of a controversial NHS sex education leaflet distributed to teachers and youth workers earlier this year.

The leaflet, entitled Pleasure, says children need to learn about sexual pleasure, encouraging discussions about “experimentation in sexual relationships” and how condoms can be used “to enhance sexual pleasure”.

When news of its distribution emerged earlier this year family campaigner Dr Trevor Stammers said: “It is unbelievable that this is being sent to schools”, he said.

“I’d like to know what scientific evidence there is to back this up.

“There are an awful lot of overpaid and under-occupied health promotion officers around who are obsessed with sex.”

Explicit sex ed for
5-year-olds say UN

New UN guidelines on sex education say schools should be teaching children as young as five explicit details about sex.

They also say children between the age of nine and twelve should learn how to deal with the “pressure to have sex”.

The proposals come in a 98-page document by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) which it claims will help children to report abuse.

Nanette Ecker, one of the authors of the report, said it was necessary to “start sexuality education young, such as teaching 5- to 8- year olds the correct terminology about their bodies and how they work so they have the language to ask questions or report abusive, coercive behaviour or sexual violence.”

Pointing to growing sexually transmitted disease rates, she said “we cannot wait for the evidence for comprehensive programmes at an early age, since we already have strong positive evidence for programmes beginning in the early teens.”

The Guidelines describe abstinence education programmes as “fear-based”, saying they are “designed to control young people’s sexual behaviour by instilling fear, shame and guilt.”

The UK Government’s approach to sex education has been widely criticised.

Plans include making sex education compulsory for primary schools from September 2011 but parents will keep the right to withdraw their children from the lessons.

In June, the Family Education Trust urged parents to be “vigilant” about the changes. The group has produced a 52-page guide for parents, entitled ‘Too Much Too Soon: The government’s plans for your child’s sex education.’

Economics Professor David Paton, an outspoken critic of the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy, recently described it as “absolutely disastrous”.

Prof Paton, of Nottingham University, commented last year: “There has been a tendency for the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy to focus on creating schemes where teenagers can get the morning after pill or other forms of family planning at school or clinics.

“The danger with this sort of approach is that it can lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviour amongst some young people.”

Sex ed for five-year-olds
to be made compulsory

The Government has accepted recommendations that sex and relationships education becomes compulsory from age five onwards.

The Christian Institute has joined other campaigners in warning that the plans will lead to the sexualisation of children and will undermine parents.

A BBC viewers’ poll coinciding with the announcement showed that three quarters of the 2,000 respondents said it should be up to parents to tell children about sex.

Less than a quarter thought the responsibility should lie with teachers.

The Government says that the lessons will come as part of a Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) package that will be mandatory from ages 5 to 16 and will also cover drugs, alcohol and financial management.

Parents will be given some say in what is taught, ministers insist.

The minimum for primary schools will include “naming parts of the body” and “being able to talk about feelings and friendships.”

Last month the FPA (formerly known as the Family Planning Association) – one of the groups involved in recommending the new plans – launched a sex comic which asked children aged six and seven to identify correctly the vagina and testicles on a picture of a naked girl and boy.

Another sex education resource produced by Channel 4 Learning asked five-year-olds to point out the clitoris.

Commenting on the move, Labour MP Geraldine Smith said: “To start sex education at primary school is to rob young children of their innocence.”

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, commented: “Secondary schools already provide extensive sex education and it has utterly failed to improve teenage sexual health. Extending this to primary schools is a step too far.

“It will undermine parents as they face the difficult job of bringing up their children. The best people to teach children about sex and relationships are their parents.

“In a culture that is obsessed with sex, schools should be one place where children are allowed to get on with life without facing pressure to deal with things they aren’t ready for.”

Parents should be banned from withdrawing their children from sex education, according to charities.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to remove their legal right to pull sons and daughters out of lessons.

The comments from health campaigners follow a Government decision to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all primary and secondary schools from 2011.

Under plans, infants aged five to seven will learn about the simple physical changes to their bodies and the differences between boys and girls.

Between seven and nine, they will be taught about puberty and relationships, while pupils in the final two years of primary school will learn about human reproduction.

Currently, parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education, although only four out of every 10,000 currently employ the opt-out.

Next week, a public consultation on the plans ends.

But sex education charities are appealing for the Government to ban parents from removing children.

Simon Blake, chief executive of Brook, which provides sex health advice, said: "Our belief is you cannot reconcile children's rights to high-quality sex and relationships education with the parental right of withdrawal. The right of withdrawal needs to be removed."

Kathy French, from the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health, said: "All parents want to retain some rights but children should have a right to good-quality sex education. It should be mandatory. PSHE should be treated the same as any other aspect of education."

She added: "Those who deliver it locally have a huge task to discuss with governors and parents what they plan to teach."

But any attempt to remove the right of withdrawal will be opposed by family campaigners.

Ministers said they supported the opt-out but would consider the results of the consultation exercise.

Sex education will be taught as part of new lessons in PHSE (personal, social, health and economic education), which is being added to the National Curriculum from September 2011.

Schools’ 'text for morning-
after pill’ scheme expands

A scheme encouraging schoolgirls as young as 11 to request the morning-after pill by text message is to be expanded.

After an initial trial among six secondary schools, Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) hopes to roll out the scheme across the county.

The scheme, which allows schoolgirls to text requests for the morning-after pill to a school nurse who can then supply the pill during breaktime, has been roundly criticised.

Family values campaigners say that making the morning-after pill more widely available encourages promiscuity among teenagers and that plans to expand the scheme “beggar belief”.

The service was launched earlier this year after Oxfordshire saw a sharp rise in pregnancies among girls aged 18 and under.

Under the scheme parents are not automatically informed of their daughters’ requests for the morning-after pill, but child protection staff are alerted if a girl aged under 13 uses the service.

Oxfordshire PCT’s children’s services manager, Alex Hammond, said take-up of the service had been lower than hoped but that the trust still wanted to offer it to more pupils in more schools.

She said: “We’re considering taking it out to other schools but we’re not going to do this without full consultation with the schools.

“If a young person were to text in to request emergency contr-aceptives they would be offered a face-to-face appointment for a full clinical assessment with one of the nurses before a decision was made about whether to give it (the morning-after pill) or not.”

The PCT is also hoping for wider promotion of the scheme, perhaps by using Facebook, the social networking website popular with teenagers.

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: “It really does beggar belief that the PCT is determined to expand a service for which there is no demand and where there is no evidence that it would reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

“There’s evidence that making the morning-after pill available to underage girls in strict confidence may be making matters worse by encouraging some girls to become sexually active when they might not otherwise have done so.”

Details of the expansion, such as how much it will cost and how many extra schools will be involved, are yet to be decided.

The PCT has said the cost will be covered by an extra £320,000 of funds it received in the 2008-9 budget to increase the provision of school nursing services in Oxford and Banbury.

And finally...

If you want to read about what they plan to teach 7 year olds (I hate to even type this, but it includes oral sex and anal sex) 13 year olds and 14 year olds, clilck on the link below, open up the pdf, which opens up 4 pages, check out the forth page and you will find out more details there.

I have found myself almost crying going through this material but hope that it will open your eyes as it did mine.

What say you?


Heather L. said...

It is SO, SO sad. I'm sure it is the very same in many ways over here. In fact, that is one of the biggest reasons I homeschool -- so I can be in charge of my kids education on that front. This week I've been feeling very much alone as a Christian on certain fronts like one but Christians seem to understand. And why not, if you don't believe in God. Praise the Lord for those few who remain true.

Annie said...

Ruth :O I'm disgusted and shocked. I wish you were joking. Are we approaching the end of innocence? This would make me think twice about bring another family into the world. The worst part of it all is the intent to provide services and information unbeknown to parents! Giving strangers authority to shape our children's minds like that should be illegal. Shocking. It makes me feel quite sick. So does the idea of it being socially acceptable for minors to be sexually active ...that's a culture shift I will be horrified to see. I'm sure it could be argued that they'll do it anyway but I feel making it acceptable leaves a very fine line for abuse. Next thing you know teen-sex will be on TV at tea-time just like casual sex has seeped into soaps. Call me conservative but there is NO way teenagers need a good sex life! Morals aside, they're not mature enough to handle the emotional intensitity and numerous disasterious health consequences of their actions. And they shouldn't be lead to believe otherwise, they should be educated surely and discouraged for their own good. Girls need to respect themselves and boys need to respect girls me this path seems to encourage peer pressure rather than subdue it as they seem to claim. It's just wrong whatever way you look at it and it totally undermines marriage, it's very sad. I couldn't read it all Ruth, too upsetting to read about young children being taught about sex and more.

Ruth MacC said...

Ah Heather, sorry you feel that way. The whole thing is tragic. And to think it is going on just accross the water... It is a bit scary and then I remember what the Bible says about it getting worse instead of better. Our faith in Gpd keeps us looking at Him and stops us from being too anxious:0)
Annie, I was almost crying and feel a bit sick too. I read how the BBC interviewed a man who is advocating that the legal age limit for people to have sex be put down from 16 to 13... In England! For YEARS Niall has been saying that this is on the cards. Soon it will not be shocking any more and it will become 'the norm'. God help us. Check out Romans one where God says that because of our rejection of Him, He gives us over to a debased mind... 1:28-32.

Cassandra said...

I'm in shock. I don't even know what to say other than that this is terrible. Absolutely terrible. I'll homeschool before anyone teaches these things to my FIVE year old.

Pete said...

This sounds like religious propaganda to me!! Would like to see the evidence from independent sources!

Pete said...

I would like to add that it is very easy to copy and paste any information which you may read! The government would not have the funding to support such services.

May I add that I do not agree with many of these, but I think you should look into it further and get actual facts before you go on some rampage!!

Ruth MacC said...

Hi Pete,
wanting evidence from an independent source sounds fair to me. Will get on to that today if I can.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ruth MacC said...

Hi Pete,
I have found independent sources for you if you want to check out the most recent post on my blog?
Take care...

ruth said...

This is pretty depressing.
We don't live in Christian societies anymore.