While the biological basics of sex education remain unchanged, the landscape of teaching sex and relationship education is constantly evolving, particularly given the access young people have to pornography via smartphones and issues of exploitation.
The Guardian Teacher Network has some interesting teaching resources to help negotiate territory old and new in sex and relationships education (SRE) lessons and contextualise what young people may be viewing without making the subject shameful.
Teachers might be nervous about mentioning pornography in SRE, but with the easy access to explicitly sexual content on the internet, which many children come across while looking for answers to sex education questions, it’s vital that they can respond to the reality appropriately. The pornography issue is a guide to broaching this potentially difficult and controversial subject by the Sex Education Forum. Packed with helpful lesson ideas, the resource will help schools tackle potentially taboo subjects and offers practical advice drawn from consultation with those on the frontline of sex education. It is also well worth pointing older teenagers to The Site’s frank exploration of porno v reality (aimed at 16-plus).
To help primary students explore the body-image issues that affect so many young people, find this PowerPoint aimed at 10- to 11-year-olds, which highlights the techniques used in post-production of images. This should help children to think critically about the images they are seeing in magazines and online. There are also teachers’ notes and aworksheet.
Some parents and carers find it difficult to talk to their children about sex and relationships. Let’s work together from the Sex Education Forumlooks at the unique role of parents in SRE and the opportunities and challenges for educators working with them. Laying the foundations is a practical guide to teaching sex and relationships in primary schools that looks at what children want to learn and contains an explanation of SRE terminology. Primary school teachers can use the Let’s get it right toolkit to explore how to involve primary school children in reviewing their sex and relationships education, including an icebreaking activity. SeeEffective learning methods for guidance on approaches to teaching the subject within PSHE and citizenship lessons, including advice on working in mixed- and single-gender groups. This resource exploring issues of confidentiality is designed to help senior managers and practitioners understand how to improve pupils’ access to confidential sexual health services, and how to establish an appropriate level of confidentiality within SRE in classrooms and one-to-one situations.
From Theatre in Education to LGBT experts, external visitors can enhance a school’s SRE programme and the Sex Education Forum external visitors guide shows schools how to make it work while staying in control of their programme.
Many teachers have worries about possible sexual exploitation of their pupils. Find this resource on healthy relationships and sexual exploitationto help teachers at key stages 3 and 4 to plan and deliver effective education on sexual exploitation by enabling young people to explore what makes a safe and healthy relationship and to develop the awareness and skills to negotiate potential risks and stay safe.
Brook has created this innovative sexual behaviours traffic light tool in direct response to requests from teachers and practitioners who struggle to work out which sexual behaviours are a natural part of growing up and exploring sexuality and which may need intervention and support to protect young people from abuse. The resource provides a framework to identify, assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour. There is a related interactive online resource. Also explore the Brook and Family Planning Association’s joint We Can’t Go Backwards campaign.
Enough abuse is an organisation set up by music teacher Marilyn Hawes, whose sons were sexually groomed and assaulted by their headteacher, who was also a close family friend. Hawes has shared this in-depth guide to recognising grooming and preventing child sex abuse and exploitation.
The Christopher Winter Project (CWP) SRE teaching resources come highly recommended by the PSHE association. CWP focuses on supporting schools with SRE via its programme Teaching SRE with Confidence, which includes in-class training. For key stage 1 pupils, find this lesson on the differences between boys and girls. For upper primary school students, this lesson on physical and emotional changes explores the concerns of children approaching puberty. This lesson on conception and pregnancy includes an activity that encourages pupils to think about what decisions and preparations need to be made before deciding to have a baby and how a baby is made.
For secondary school-aged pupils, this lesson aimed at year 10 looks atsexual health in the context of drug and alcohol use, and negotiation skills is a practical lesson using role-play. There is further exploration of the issues of sexual exploitation and sexual bullying in personal safety part one and part two, which consider positive and negative relationships and encourage young people to look at what would constitute inappropriate behaviour and to recognise when someone is vulnerable.
The Wellcome Trust‘s Big picture on sex and gender examines the biological basis of sex differences, links between sex and gender, the science of sex determination and attitudes to masculinity and femininity. Young people talk about their experiences of sex in this resource from the Youthhealthtalk, containing short video clips.
And finally, some interesting tips from headteacher Tom Sherrington on how he found a way to deliver sex education factually, sensitively and without embarrassment via a questions postbox, in straight answers without blushes.