Education Health

Government changes to sex education

sex education
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Find out what new measures the government is proposing for sex education.

For the first time in 18 years, the government is revising its sex education plan. The changes, announced this week by education secretary Damian Hinds, deal with the challenges of the digital age. It also gives increased importance to concepts of consent.

Current stats

Over a four-year period, there were 30,000 reports of children sexually assaulting other young people. This including 2,625 alleged attacks that took place on school premises. It’s also reported that one in seven teenagers are sexting each other (sexting is the sharing of sexually explicit videos or texts).

Why the changes are important

A lot has changed since the last sex education update in 2000. Digital technology has transformed how young people approach sex. It’s enabled increased access to porn, as well as new practices like sexting. The new measures will allow the next generation to have more of an understanding of these complex issues.

Primary school

The new measures will take place from primary school level. At this early stage, they will teach the importance of consent. This will be age appropriate, teaching generally about relationships. This will include asking permission from others, and how consent can be withdrawn. They will also teach the importance of boundaries. How to respect the boundaries of others as well as how to maintain your own.

Secondary school

Secondary students will learn about laws around sex. They will learn about more difficult subjects, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, grooming and sexual harassment. Concepts of consent will continue, with age relevant subjects such as sexting.

What does the government have to say?

Education secretary Damian Hinds has stated, “It’s vital that every child knows about their rights and that nothing should happen to them without their consent. This guidance will ensure lessons teach children how to recognise when someone else has not given consent.”