The government’s new plans regarding sex education should be welcomed with open arms. Given rising rates of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and underage sex, it seems ludicrous that such a move has not been implemented sooner. I attended a Catholic high school and while we did receive sex education, it was nervous at best. Teachers tread the fine line between doing what they feel will protect their students and arm them for the realities of sex and relationships and the moral precepts of the school. Making it a legal obligation to teach sex education at this age means that teachers need not fear reprisals because of faith.
“Learning about contraception, abortion and homosexuality should only allow children to make informed decisions; not indoctrinate them”
The right of the parent to withdraw their child from learning about these topics seems to me to be a strange idea to cling to. While it is true that a parent may wish their child to hold a certain morality regarding these issues, it is surely their responsibility to instil these in the child based on the impartial information the child receives. When a child learns about the political parties of the United Kingdom as is the case in some religion education syllabuses, it does not mean that the child will declare they will become politicised. In the same way, learning about contraception, abortion and homosexuality should only allow children to make informed decisions; not indoctrinate them.
Some fear that educating students about the methods of contraception and abortion will lead to moral degradation as children are told that they can do as they please without consequences. The problem with such a view is that it seems to be based on a complete fallacy that children are currently all innocent and never have sex or engage in anything outside the moral precepts held by such groups. This clearly is not the case and given that the young people of the United Kingdom are having underage sex, it seems ridiculous to think that keeping them ignorant of the dangers and realities associated with this does anything to help them.
“The advent of the internet has led to an explosion of easily available pornography, which propagates unrealistic images of sex and indeed the human body”
If we refuse to give information to our children on such matters, they will seek it in other places. The advent of the internet has led to an explosion of easily available pornography, which propagates unrealistic images of sex and indeed the human body. The whole issue seems to come down to the maintenance of a taboo. The younger generation routinely break the sexual taboo that still exists and clinging doggedly to the fear of a sexualised society will do nothing to halt this or help guide children through the minefield of the adult words of ‘sex and relationships’. I would prefer children to be educated in school rather than through hearsay and nervous whispers.