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Why Teaching Effective Sex Education Matters

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

When young people grow from children to teenagers, they will inevitably have questions about the things that go on with their body, and mind, during puberty. It’s not always easy to talk about these kinds of things with parents, but discussion between friends and peers can often lead to rumours and misinformation being spread. Young people may feel uncomfortable questioning or challenging their peers in fear of looking like they don’t know anything.

Schools Should Educate Pupils Both Academically and Socially

While schools are in place to nurture the minds of young people academically so that the country is economically prosperous in the future, it is also important to develop students’ social and emotional skills. Establishing a healthy amount of self awareness, self-esteem, confidence and decision-making will equip teenagers to become well-rounded adults who are able to develop secure and healthy relationships throughout their lives.

Why is Sex and Relationship Education Important in Schools?

Sex education shouldn’t just be left to parents. One in four young people say that they don’t get any sex education at school at all, and 26% of those who do say that their PSHE teacher does not teach it well. Not addressing sex and other sensitive issues can lead to young people making dangerous choices, which have worse consequences than having to endure a slightly awkward conversation.

What Kind of Sex Education Did You Receive?

We asked a few adults about what they were taught about sex and relationships during their school years:

“Attending a Catholic school, condoms were not mentioned at all, but we were shown pictures of the effects of STIs. The worst things they tried to suggest was that we would become infertile and not be able to have children when we got married.”

“There was a big emphasis on STIs, and a teacher showing us how to put condoms on properly, and I remember them touching on consent.”

“I didn't really get taught much at all - little bit on puberty, tiny bit on human reproduction… That was about it! Most of my Sex Ed came from my own... ‘research’ using ‘online sources’.”

“We did Sex Ed for about three weeks in Year Ten, but for some people it was too late.”

Did You Know?

25% of young people do not receive sex education in schools and 26% of those that do are dissatisfied with the quality of teaching

Taking Positive Steps Forward

It would seem that Sex Education is lacking in a lot of schools, and we need to find ways to combat that. Normalising the discussion of sex early on using age-appropriate means can eliminate any of the awkwardness teacher or facilitators may face later on. Good and consistent Sex and Relationship Education not only helps students learn about their bodies and sexuality, but also helps them identify and protect themselves from abuse.

How We Can Help

So what resources can Health and Care offer you and your classroom? We’ve carefully hand-picked a selection of products that will provide you with fun and productive PSHE lessons for years to come.

Boyfriends and Girlfriends Emotional Literacy Workbook: This useful guide provides you with many low-risk exercises that identify the behaviours and attitudes that form healthy relationships. It’s a resource that opens dialogues about empathy, respect, emotions and thoughtful decision-making when it comes to love and sex.

What Do You Really Know About Sex? Educational Card Game: A great follow-up after teaching your students about the biological side of sex, this game provides young people with hard-hitting statements that dispel myths about sex. The game allows for more meaningful and in-depth conversations about sex and relationships to make the classroom environment more fun and relaxed setting.

Relationship Timeline Educational Board Game: Another laid-back classroom activity, this game encourages students to consider their own mental and emotional welfare when it comes to sex and relationships. The cards used in this game help young people to explore what behaviours are appropriate in during each stage of a relationship, and helps them actively identify and question any negative conduct.

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