Teaching Sexual Health & Relationships

By Olivia & Elle (BBC School Reporters)

“Every person has a different experience of relationships and it is important that students know who to ask for advice and support.”

Recently it has been announced that sex and relationships is to become a compulsory subject which must be taught in schools in the coming years. We decided to investigate what is sometimes a controversial topic and speak to some people in the know!

First, we interviewed Mrs Stevens, Head of PSHE at Penrice Academy. She is passionate about students being given the opportunity to learn the facts about relationships and to feel open about discussing the topic.

Mrs Stevens explained that she thought young people should be taught about sex and relationships from a young age as it “can help prevent myths and misinformation. Every person has a different experience of relationships and it is important that students know who to ask for advice and support.”

One way that Penrice Academy educates their students about healthy relationships is through PSHE and internal workshops. One of these workshops is delivered by Brook.

Brook is a charity that focuses on young people’s sexual health and wellbeing through education, as well as providing training and resources that help students learn about healthy relationships and being safe.

We spoke to Kerry from Brook Cornwall, about the charity’s stance on relationship and sex education. Brook echoes Mrs Stevens’ views that the topic should be taught from a young age (even as early as 5 or 6) so that pupils are more aware of relationships and sex in terms of self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, body image, and exploitation.

Kerry also identified how relationships and sex should be taught not just in school but by parents too: “It is important that children receive as much education on this as possible.”

But what about the student’s perspective? Is the idea of discussing sex and relationships in school a bit.. ‘cringe’?

We asked some Year 11s their views and they agreed that it is important to receive information on sex and relationships from the right sources: “Sex and relationships should be more openly discussed with young people, both in school and at home to prevent them accessing incorrect information or advice from an untrustworthy sources, like the internet.”

Overall, students, teachers, organisations and the government agree – sex and relationship education needs to, and will be, included in the school curriculum!

Read more about Brook here.