BBC Sunday Morning Live- Some things I wanted to point out!


The program is now live in Iplayer- see Here.

Okay so my bit was ultra short and they never came back to me with some of the questions they were saying they were going to ask me (about teaching homosexuality and abortion)

So I decided to add a speedy response my rants here.

Firstly most importantly- the notion that anyone who talks about sex education to children is corrupting them and is some kind of pedophile- well that is just a vile vile disgusting thing to say and it is exactly the reason so many wonderful professional teachers avoid this topic in the classroom. I do my job because I believe in young people’s rights to know and understand their bodies as they develop at an age appropriate level so they can stay safe, and have informed happy relationships when they are ready for them. Equating me to a paedophile is actually the most foul, upsetting and disgusting thing that has ever been said to me. 😦

Secondly they didn’t actually clarify properly what sex and relationships education actually is. Sex & Relationships Education is part biology (how your body works) which is the statutory bit, part relationships (the non statutory bit) and part the actual “sex” bit- contraception, STI’s, etc (some of which is still science by the way) which schools are expected to provide but parents have a right to withdraw from all except the science although less than 1% actually do. If you have any more questions about this please do ask me.

As I managed to say in my piece the majority of parents (84%) want schools to teach sex and relationships education, many parents also want help from schools with how to tackle the issue at home. Parents like her are in a very small minority and have the right to withdraw their children from sex and relationships education. It is actually such a shame that the media continue to give the minority of parents airtime also propagating myths about what SRE actually is, whilst not listening to the majority- this means Sex and Relationships Education is always the political hot potato and the government is never going to sort it out properly.

I’m glad I managed to get in my point about “Young people are demanding and deserve better sex and relationships education”. but I need to put this bit in bold: Why are we not listening to them? They want it from both their parents and schools.

I was disappointed Ms. Burrows negated my viewpoint as a parent. I am a parent and a sex educator- the two are both incredibly important to me. My point about my toddler knowing there is a baby in mummy’s tummy was actually trying to highlight that Sex Education should ALWAYS be age appropriate- lead by the stage and development of the child or young person, that can and should happen at both home and school. My daughters won’t want to always talk to me about sex (although I hope I bring them up to feel they can approach me) and I want them to have a safe adult that they can go to to ask the questions they don’t feel able to ask me.

Here are some other points I wanted to make:

  • Sex Education should never just be at school or just be at home. It has to be both. Schools and parents need to work closely together to develop the best Sex&relationships for the young people in their care.
  • Many studies into sex education actually found that when done properly it actually delays first sex and supports young people developing better more respectful relationships with each other and reduces abuse.
Finally they mentioned homosexuality and it being wrong to discuss in schools (and had the production team said they were going to ask me about what age I would teach about that) so I am going to clarify what I would have said here.
“Let’s clarify talking about different relationships including different sexual orientations is very very different to talking about sexual activity. Teaching children and young people not to stigmatise and discriminate against anyone, including on the basis of who they fall in love with is extremely important and should happen from a young age. At least 5-7% of the worlds population identify as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender- but note actual figures may be higher due to issues with data collection and individuals not being out) and we have a responsibility to develop a more tolerant society for everyone’s benefit (this is a core value of education- it isn’t just a specific sex education thing). That aspect is NOT about teaching about sexual activity to primary school children or going against anyone’s religious beliefs at all”
Here are some links I was tweeting earlier to help you:
For help with teaching about abortion follow @edforchoice on twitter and their website is here.
For help with dealing with homophobia and discussing sexual orientation follow @stonewalluk @diversityRM and @Sowhatsquad
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20 thoughts on “BBC Sunday Morning Live- Some things I wanted to point out!

  1. In all the hoo-ha about teaching “children” about “sex” those that stir up the ignorant into a frenzy are the ones that are intimating that teachers of 5 or 6 year olds must be showing them something that is almost equivalent to some of the hardest porn material avaiable on the market. Stop scare-mongering and actually read up on what is taught to 5, 6, 7 year olds about SRE!! That’s what I wanted to say to that silly woman, Lynette!

    • The thing is without effect guidance from the government about effective SRE particularly at primary level- schools continue to choose their own resources. The anti-sex ed lobby seize examples of this such as the clitoris being mentioned in a primary school sex education resource and then use this to launch attacks on the subject leading to schools avoiding covering the subject properly. The key is for schools and parents to work together to agree materials and appropriate resources and have that outlined in their policy. Parts of the body can totally be covered in an age appropriate way.

  2. I really couldn’t believe how little time you got, considering that you teach the subject. That debate was an utter farce.

    I’ll also say that leaving it up to parents only to teach about sex and relationships is ridiculous. Far too many parents don’t properly understand the subject anyway. It would be the blind leading the blind.

  3. ProfTentacles here: just registered a complaint at the BBC:

    I was thoroughly appalled by the amount of airtime given to Lynette Burrows and the fact that she was allowed, on national television, to accuse all Sex and Relationships educators as paedophiles.

    The fact that the presenter did not challenge this view, or ask her on what she was basing her accusation was inexcusable. The fact that an SRE teacher was then given practically no time to discuss the matter, instead giving extra airtime to an unqualified person from the ‘campaign for real education’ to suggest that teaching homosexuality in a non-judgemental way was immoral merely compounded the error.

    This was a horribly misinformed piece of programming that did not reflect the beliefs or needs of the vast majority of parents or students. I expect better from the BBC, of all organisations. The fact that non professionals were given more airtime than professionals to discuss a matter is a horrible case of imbalance in your coverage of a very delicate issue. Opinion is not the same as expertise, and this programme gave way too much prominence to those who shouted the loudest.

    I am more than willing to come on your programme and shout very loudly about how people like these are actually dangerous to the health and wellbeing of children, if meaningless conflict is all you are interested in. If you are interested in the actual facts, and informing public debate, why go to someone like Lynette Burrows and why not like the professionals speak?

    I suggest everyone else does the same.

  4. I can only agree with the prof above – typical of the ‘debate’ to give time to (minority) opinions rather than facts. The only consolation is that lynette showed herself to be the kind of rabid idiot (did you know she’s the sister of ‘the’ Gillick btw?) any sane person wants as far away from sre as possible. Thanks Alice for the fact check in your blog article, please can this be followed up – perhaps.via cif or similar?

  5. You did an excellent job with the pitifully short time you were given. It’s a shame, but to be expected, that they were not able to be more balanced – after all, the BBC are always very keen to show they are being “fair and balanced” when reporting on science issues to give equal time to the other side, no matter how bonkers it may be – why can’t we have it the other way round from time to time?

  6. Just about to watch this – it’s a subject that I really feel strongly about. It’s not dealt with well at all, the college I work at makes a little effort but it’s all a bit hush hush and half arsed.

    Thanks for the link! x

  7. I thought you did well with the little time you were given. I was appalled that such uneducated and vile opinions were allowed to be aired on the BBC. Lynette Burrows was making out that Sex Education was taught using pornography and the words used while talking were inappropriate. I am glad that sex education is taught in schools and when my son takes these lessons I plan on being involved so that I can back up these lessons at home. When parents and school have continuity children can accept and learn from it. If parents alone teach their children they will pass on their prejudice oppinions when they learn at school that there are other opinions it can spark debate and change. The thought of teaching children to be non judgmental as bad had me steaming! We should be teaching children not to judge people for any reason. The image Lynette Burrows painted of the peadophile in the playground is also very far from the truth! Unfortunately you are more likely to be abused by someone you or your family knows. Hopefully good sex education may help children who are being abused to speak to their teacher.
    Good, safe and accurate information can only lead to good, safe sensible children and young adults.
    Thank you for this blog post and the links to other resources. Well done for sticking up for education!

  8. I have written a complaint to the BBC; I’m still shocked at how much airtime was given to Lynette Burrows’ abhorent views.

  9. Pingback: A clarification on “dirty pictures & paedophiles” and the great big sex and relationships education “debate” | sexedukation

  10. Pingback: Sample complaint letter to BBC Sunday Morning Live | sexedukation

  11. Pingback: For the record #BBCSML | sexedukation

  12. Pingback: Sunday Morning Live- The story so far- Updated 26th Oct | sexedukation

  13. I am interested in finding empirical research in the UK that claims to prove that sex education ‘done properly’ as you mention above, delays first sex. I have been researching this subject but have not yet found any.

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