A quick recap on this equalities and school policies issue so far.


People are probably getting lost in my many posts on this issue so too recap:

My main issues are

a) I’ve found 100’s of schools with problematic policies relating to the EXACT wording of current DfE SRE Guidance documentation. (DfE whilst mounting a challenge to those include “must not promote homosexuality” are keeping quiet on what they think of those that say “must not promote sexual orientation” given this is in their own current guidance for schools)
b) DfE removed “legalisation of homosexuality and abortion” from previous to latest draft history curriculum.
c) DfE for deliberately removed gender identity from a specific equal opportunities statement from previous draft.

I have real issues with the phrasing of the current SRE guidance and I have been wondering for months if it might be in breach of equality act.  It is very clear schools are confused with their rights and responsibilities on this issue especially given that
one of the schools with a problematic policy has published their equality policy online it states “we do not promote one life style choice over another” (implying sexual orientation or gender identity is a lifestyle choice, sigh.)

Will keep you posted.

Five year olds “marry” in church marriage ceremony


Today I saw a photo on Facebook that unsettled me. It was a photo of a bride and groom and their smiling attendants at their church wedding, except all the participants were in year 2 of primary school.

It was a photo not unlike this one from here:

20130710-195013.jpg
And I discover this is not an isolated occurrence (worldwide (here, here and in UK here, here, and here and that’s just from a very quick google).

I am genuinely conflicted by this. As a very happily married woman whose wedding day was the best day of my life ever &who would have become a wedding planner if I wasn’t a sex educator, then I think kids playing at weddings is fun after all it is simply children enjoying to learn about something that is a central part to our culture plus it is an example teaching Sex & Relationships Education at primary level (which primary schools don’t have to teach apart from Science NC).

On the other hand it is adults imposing a particular value set onto children. If there are genuine opportunities to learn about marriages and long term relationships (after all marriage is not a mandatory ingredient to long term successful relationships), from lots of different faith or secular perspectives then I think it could be an awesome learning opportunity for children, but likewise I would not want the children to assume that marriage and long term relationships only occur between people of the opposite sex, but how many primary school teachers would be okay about allowing a same sex marriage to occur in their classroom for fear of parental or media backlash? I appreciate that there would be little to add to the learning experience once one “marriage ceremony” has been enacted but at the very least I would expect schools to also read the brilliant and lovely “King and King” as part of their work on marriage (King isn’t keen on any of the princesses the Queen Mother wants him to marry – then he falls for another prince and they all (including Queen Mother) live happily ever after- it’s a cute story with lovely illustrations.)

I’m also uncomfortable with the notion of “a marriage” in the classroom because of popularity/bullying- elevating two children in the class to status of Bride and Groom, is akin to the equally distasteful electing a “prom king and prom queen” which seems to be increasing in the UK. School absolutely should not be a popularity contest- and although I recognize it often is- schools and teachers should not be facilitating that. Likewise adults facilitating such a “marriage” could lead to the children taking such roles far more seriously than they should. I envisage a period after the lesson of the “bride and groom” negotiating their “relationship” in the playground and with their peers once the honeymoon is over. Obviously this would depend on the personalities involved and the teacher drawing names at random out of a hat would mitigate that in some way. Also how far should this role play go? Hen and stag do’s? A drunk best man speech? A honeymoon? A baby? An affair? A divorce? Are they not also common features of many partnership celebrations?

Hosting wedding ceremonies in the classroom is entirely different to children playing at wedding ceremonies in their own playtime- in a non adult directed space you will find the kids want to marry their favourite dinosaur toy or teddy, marry their mummy, marry their best friends, marry about 5 people at once, marry no-one- all an entirely normal and appropriate developmental role play and OBVIOUSLY NOT examples of future bestiality, incest, homosexuality, polyamory or asexuality etc. from these kids!* But when adults take over these role plays we only feel safe if we teach the societal notions of “normal and acceptable”, and I worry about the kids growing up to be gay or trans or who never wants to marry as all this lesson seeks to reinforce is how “not normal” they should feel, even though in according to the laws in this land (Equality Duty 2010 and hopefully soon the equal marriage bill once it finally passes) these kids have the right to be included and accepted throughout their school lives.

One final reason this unsettled me was in a country which has a forced marriage unit and has issued guidance for professionals on dealing with forced marriage including child marriage I am uncomfortable with children roleplaying marrying other children.

What do you think? Is this good practice in Primary SRE or is this an excellent example of Too Much Too Soon and what about letting children be children?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Note here for anyone stupid enough to think my point there was equating being trans or gay to bestiality and incest. Obviously I wasn’t but those are all genuine examples of people/things primary and nursery kids I know have wanted to marry! Bestiality and Incest are ILLEGAL. Being gay, trans, poly or asexual isn’t. *Awaits DM headline about me trying to “promote” somesuch at primary schools. Sigh.*

N.B. The title of this blogpost is my attempt at a daily mail style headline- out of interest does it instil a reaction akin to “Pupils aged 11 to learn about gay sex? 😉

The PSHE Review. Respondents and Homophobic Bullying in the report


In March 2013 the DfE published the outcomes of the latest PSHE review (DfE 2013). The publication of this review took over 16 months to complete from the close of the consultation process in November 2011. Unfortunately the review was problematic in the way that it did not weight responses correctly so the review made it seem like parents were the biggest respondents (168) when other organisations who responded included the Sex Education Forum (who represent over 70 organisations working in the sector who were consulted on the response), as well as the PSHE Association (who surveyed their 2000+ membership before submitting their response) but in the final report their responses only counted as 1 response each. Thus a single parent voice was given equal weight to huge organisations consisting of hundreds of professional voices when compiling the review.

I discovered the published report on the consultation does not include mention of homophobia, sexual orientation, sexuality AT ALL (but racism and gender equality are included) but given I like to track these things I compiled the table below that outlines the responses possibly could be relevant to challenging homophobia contained within the PSHE report.

“Many respondents thought that PSHE outcomes could be evidenced in the positive behaviour of pupils, and observable attitudes and relationships across the school and the local community. They believed PSHE outcomes must move away from quantitative outcomes to things such as school ethos, attitudes to bullying, promotion of equality, and improved social behaviour.
68 (12%) felt that being able to recognise bullying should be a core outcome of PSHE. Respondents identified two separate issues. Some felt that the main outcome should be to offer support to pupils who were being bullied and help them to deal with the consequences of negative relationships. Others felt that the reason for including the topic was to promote equality and enable pupils to be able to identify and tackle bullying amongst their peers. 
137 (24%) believed pupils must be given the knowledge to respect others and to appreciate different beliefs. It was mentioned that it was important that they had an understanding of the differences between people and cultures, about gender equality and had the ability to challenge racism, discrimination and stereotyping.

Then I went back to some of the organisations who submitted responses just to see what they had said about homophobia, homophobic bullying, sexual orientation, & sexuality.

I copy and paste the most relevant below (I have not C&P’d every mention but have hyperlinked to the reports where available online so you can check them)

PSHE Association, – Under Qu 7 request for case studies-

“Teacher training in the area of homophobic bullying has also helped in the way we deal with homophobic bullying (as we are in a primary school this would often be the derogatory use of the word ‘Gay’ and hopefully will impact on the incidents of homophobic bullying that we have). Ofsted PSHE inspection 2009 ‘outstanding’.”

SEF response

“Be positively inclusive in terms of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, culture,
age, religion or belief or other life-experience particularly HIV status and pregnancy;”

FPA & Brook Response:

“We believe that it is vital for any updated guidance on relationships and sex education to address the needs of all children and young people, including young people with special educational needs (SEN) or learning disabilities, disabled children and young people, children and young people in care and lesbian, gay or bisexual children and young people. It is vital that all relationships and sex education is inclusive and non-discriminatory. Ways this can be done includes not making assumptions about faith-based or cultural practices, challenging any homophobia, racism or sexism, and ensuring that resources and discussions reflect the diversity of the pupils.”

ATL:

“We believe that the relationships element of
PSHE education must take proper account of the imbalance of power in many relationships which can manifest itself in bullying, violent, abusive and/or discriminatory behaviour based amongst others on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or belief and
social class. We also recommend that the relationships element of PSHE education is more explicitly joined up with wider initiatives aimed at eliminating all forms of bullying, discrimination, violence and hate crime, including culturally-specific violence against women and girls.”

NASUWT,

“Despite this, cyberbullying is clearly an issue affecting teachers in other countries outside the UK, with cyber-abuse related to gender and sexual orientation being most frequent.ETUCE 2010”

Stonewall (their response is not available online but I requested a copy and funnily enough there is considerable focus on homophobia and homophobic bullying throughout the document including:

PSHE provides children and young people with the opportunity to discuss topics like homophobic bullying, different families including same-sex families and lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. Discussing these issues in an appropriate and structured way helps break down stereotypes, for example, about what boys and girls ‘should and shouldn’t do’. It also provides all pupils, including those who are, or will grow up to be, lesbian, gay and bisexual, with relevant information enabling them to make safe choices. However, at present the PSHE framework does not give clear enough guidance to schools about what issues to address and how to address them. Developing a more inclusive PSHE framework and programme of study which specifically includes age-appropriate information about different families and homophobic bullying and information on how schools can work effectively with parents and carers around these issues, will help the Government’s aim in tackling this form of bullying as outlined in the Schools White Paper 2010; will help schools comply with the Equality Act 2010 and public sector Equality Duty; and will help schools to meet the requirements of the new proposed Ofsted inspection framework.”

NICE,

“Ninety per cent of secondary school teachers and 44% of primary school teachers say that children and young people experience homophobic bullying, name calling or harassment at school, yet most incidents go unreported (Guasp 2007). Pupils who experience homophobic bullying are more likely to miss school and less likely to stay in full-time education (Department for Children, Schools and Families 2009b). Further, most teachers and non-teaching staff in primary and secondary schools have not received training in how to tackle this form of bullying, and most would not feel confident in providing pupils with information, advice and guidance on lesbian and gay issues (Department for Children, Schools and Families 2007).”

British Humanist Association:

“Homophobic Bullying is a major issue in all schools, but is a particular issue in ‘faith’ schools. Stonewall’s 2007 ‘The School Report’ showed that two thirds of young gay people at secondary schools have experienced homophobic bullying, but in ‘faith’ schools that figure rises to three in four. The report also showed that lesbian and gay pupils who attend ‘faith’ schools are 23% less likely to report bullying than those at other schools.’1 Many ‘faith’ schools also have issues with teaching about relationships other than heterosexual relationships, and it is important that different sexual orientations are treated equally including in issues to do with marriage and civil partnership.”

National Secular Society

Reduce homophobic bullying by improving education and normalising all sexualities. A YouGov polling demonstrates that nine in ten secondary school teachers and more than
two in five primary school teachers have witnessed children being subjected to homophobic bullying in their schools. Teachers say the vast majority of homophobic incidents go unreported by pupils. Three quarters of young LGBT people who attend faith schools have experienced homophobic bullying4.

National AIDS Trust

“This can also link with work on bullying. However, more broadly the PSHE curriculum needs to focus more explicitly on attitudes and values, in order to properly address issues such as HIV-related stigma, homophobia and racism.”

Accord Coalition

We are very concerned how schools may deal with issues of sexual difference and diversity. Homophobia is a major issue in schools, but is a particular issue in the faith school sector. Stonewall’s 2007 ‘The School Report’ showed that two thirds of young gay people at secondary schools have experienced homophobic bullying, but in schools with a religious character the figure rises to three in four. The report also showed that lesbian and gay pupils who attend these schools are 23% less likely to report bullying than those at schools without a faith designation[1].

We believe stronger guidance should be given to help schools cover issues of sexual difference and diversity so that they are able to balances setting out religious and cultural perspectives with schools vitally important requirement to promote equality and encourages acceptance of diversity. PSHE could and should play an important role in schools tackling bullying based on sexual difference.

Other organisations I suspect will have mentioned homophobic bullying but I have not been able to see a copy of their responses are Anti-Bullying alliance, Beat Bullying, NAH, Banardos, Astell Project, NAH and ASCL. The DfE has supplied me with a list of respondents to the PSHE review and I have gone through them and know many people personally in the list who would also have flagged it as an issue. So this suggests to me that this was raised in a reasonable proportion of responses, although obviously without checking all 699 reponses I can’t know for sure.

Interesting then how the words Homophobia, Homophobic Bullying, Sexuality and Sexual Orientation are then COMPLETELY ABSENT FROM THE PSHE REPORT. Silenced Sexualities in 2013. How very disappointing. Not only are we having to stick with the SRE Guidance that is possibly in breach of the equalities act. But we also have an education department who can’t even bring themselves to mention the words Homophobia, Homophobic Bullying, Sexuality or Sexual Orientation- in a report about Personal Social Health and Economic Education (PSHE). The exact place these things would and should be covered.

It makes me so cross.

 

 

The power of teachers


Yesterday I spent the day training a lovely group of teachers. We had a great day but during the training a strange thing happened. I was talking about my experiences challenging homophobia in school in particular the privilege of being the first adult a young person came out too, and the impact that had had on her (and me), and suddenly I got all choked and teary and I struggled to regain my composure.

This has never happened before despite sharing these stories many times previously. Without meaning to sound like a sanctimonious pompous prat*, I think it suddenly dawned on me the incredibly important role I played in the wellbeing of that student, and how without me and the work I was trying to do, how differently things could have turned out for that student.

Teachers, never ever underestimate your power and importance in a students’ life. Please try use that power as a force for good. Be there when your students need you, challenge bullying and discrimination when you witness it. Your influence is so much more than achieving target grades. Never forget that.

*Which I do a bit. Sorry. Lecture over. Rants about artificial semen and the like will resume shortly.

How to make your own “artificial semen” or “UV sensitive fluid” for condom demonstrations.


When doing a condom demonstration I like to use an ejaculating condom demonstrator with UV sensitive fluid (artificial semen) and a blacklight to show that semen can still be present on the penis (and hands) even if they look clean post “ejaculation”. This highlights the need to be careful post coitally and not to get intimate again without clean hands/another condom etc, otherwise you maybe at risk of sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy.

I recently ran out of my Health Edco UV sensitive Fluid and although it is £6.95 they have a minimum order charge of £20 plus its about £10 P&P so in order to try and save money I thought I would have a bash (no pun intended) at making my own.  I do also have this non UV sensitive artificial semen but its very grittty (eh?! and Urgh!) and tends to go off after a year plus the lack of UV sensitivity ruins part of my demo, so I tend not to use it if I can.

A discussion on twitter on how to get UV sensitivity suggested laundry brightener and then just a white liquid soap or shampoo for the “semen”.

UPDATE 10th March 2014. Have found a much better way. Scroll to end!

So you will need the following:

20130303-152850.jpg

A clean jar (I just washed out my old jar of UV sensitive fluid). Some laundry brightener (about £3) and some white liquid soap (about 90p).

I filled the jar three quarters full of soap and stirred in half a sachet of laundry brightener.

20130303-152902.jpg

Something very odd happened. The previously powdered laundry brightener clumped into hard solid lumps…..

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and so far I have not been totally able to get rid of them. However the UV sensitivity is excellent!

20130303-152920.jpg

I ended up adding the rest of the sachet of brightener and topped up the jar to full with the liquid soap.

20130303-152929.jpg

The solution has oddly gone runnier than it was when the two things weren’t mixed- I thought it would go a bit thicker with a powder being added to a thick liquid, so I am pondering adding some cornflour to thicken it up! It also doesn’t have the slightly translucent quality that my previous jar of UV sensitive fluid (and real semen) does and to be honest it looks a smidge radioactive in the jar (tinge of fluorescent yellow/green)! Overall, I am reasonably pleased with the result even if its appearance isn’t as good as the Health Edco stuff, the UV sensitivity in my homemade stuff is far superior making this demo much more obvious when working with larger groups and since it is so much cheaper to make then I’m happy!

By the way real semen would probably glow under a black light but not to the vivid extent that my homemade artificial stuff does! My homemade artificial stuff also smells very strongly of soap and laundry unlike the real deal which many say smells like Bleach but heck its in the same genre of “cleaning fluid smells”. 😉 Ha!

I have enough liquid soap and sachets of brightener left to make up about 3 or 4 more batches (so £1 a batch instead of £20!) but as I only use 3-5ml at a time (the average ejaculation size) per demonstration, then I think this lot will last me a while so long as it doesn’t react/go off in the coming weeks. I will keep an eye and keep you posted.

Hope this post helps any cheapskate sex educators out there :D.  If you would like a copy of my 25 page indepth guide to doing a condom demonstration with young people (or anyone over 13 really) then you can email me on sexedukation@gmail.com it costs £3.50 or is provided free on condom demonstration training courses I deliver, just contact me for more details.

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UPDATE 10/4/14

Turns out white hand soap on its own is UV sensitive (feel a bit silly for not trying that first and faffing with the laundry brightener! So basically you can ignore the entire post above but leaving it for posterity of the daft things I do for my job). I bought an 80p one from the supermarket and I will easily have enough for thousands of demonstrations.  The added bonus is it will not clog your demonstrator, usually when training I pack away hurriedly and sometimes forget to flush the tubes of the demonstrator. One time I was doing a training and the tiny plug of artificial semen that rose majestically from the end of the demonstrator caused a hysteria that was hard to come back from so to speak.  But I have discovered that hand soap doesn’t seem to solidify in the same way as have just flushed the tubes with water as I am training this arvo and it was all clear and soapy fresh.   😀

Happy Educating

Help for educators in dealing with sexualised media including pornography.


Today an article of mine was published in the TES-

Should we panic about Pornography?

Alongside this Spencer Williams and I wrote a guide for Teachers with some ideas and tips on how to cover it in lessons. This document also covers reference to the two main commercially available educational resources dealing with Porn and links to training courses and further reading.  It is a collaborative working document and will be updated as we go along so if you have any ideas or resources you want to share please do!

Pornography- Tips in how to address in SRE lessons.

It can be downloaded as a PDF – all you need is a TES Login.

Happy Educating.

Smoking, Packaging and PSHE &Citizenship


Slightly off topic post from me today. A friend of mine is involved in this campaign and I think it’s a good one to share with Citizenship\PSHE teachers. I think there is a lot of scope to do some work with young people around this. Maybe as a citizenship project? Could also be interesting to do some follow on work linking it to sex in the media and whether young people can think of a campaign that might support young people with their body image or not to feel pressurised into sex they are not ready for, maybe by plain packaging not airbrushing celebrities or putting sexy advertising where kids can’t see it? just some musings- let me know how you get on and do sign up to the campaign!

Smoking facts for kids

Protect
our children. Visit the Plain Packaging Campaign
for more information and to pledge your support.

Poems about HIV/AIDS written by South African children & young people.


Today is World AIDS day and a day I always take time to reflect on my time spent working in KaNyamazane on an HIV/AIDS education project. (first as a volunteer and then a subsequent year as a co-ordinator)  It was the most incredible amazing experience of my life and it changed me for ever.  I wouldn’t be doing the job I do now if it wasn’t for my time out there.

The poems below are so moving and incredible when you also consider that some of the students writing them were only in Grade 7 of Primary school (the equivalent of Y6) and were writing them in their second language.  I have written them exactly as they were written.  These are the young people’s voices and their  perspective and experiences.  N.B Trigger warning- some of you may find the content of these poems distressing- especially the one about rape.

These poems are very powerful if read out in World AIDS Day assemblies.

Please see end of this post for further notes on these poems.

AIDS
I can get through a beautiful lady
And strip her beauty out
I can drive the world crazy
And shake even the most handsome guys,
AIDS can move and kill even the president
And his wife is nothing to AIDS
When AIDS is angry nobody can stand his anger

JM
Grade 7B
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

The AIDS
Virus you are virus
Because you live in blood only
You are a syndrome
Collection of diseases
You kill young adult young child
You kill heros and zeros

By MN
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Why me?
Hospitals and clinics,
Are full of people
Affected by HIV/AIDS
Doctor and nurse are
Running
Trying to save each soul

Everyone is opening mortuary business
Of a day
Home spaces are being decreased
Grave yard increasing

We as a nation must stand and fight the virus
We are all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS

AN
Grade 6B
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

HIV/AIDS
What an illness
My life is meaningless
You make my life lifeless
You make me hopeless
What an illness

You don’t care who you kill
It old and young
Big and small
Bad or good
What an illness

The sky was blue
Now its black
People hate each other
Because of you HIV/AIDS
What an illness

By SN
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

HIV and AIDS poem
AIDS kills, AIDS has no friend,
Always be carefully and
Abstain from sex
Look around and round
Our mothers and fathers are
Not with us today
Because of this disease
Please try to abstain from sex

Teenagers look carefully
Look and look,
Study and study
To those who are affected and try
And get a good lesson

Never ever try to know
Sex without marriage is
Not good because one day
You have to get suffering and
Cry.
Nobody can help you

By SK
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Poem about HIV/AIDS*

There is a disease around the world
The disease try to destroy all people who live in the world
I want to say don’t have sex when you are young
AIDS is the killer

AIDS is there and AIDS is live
When the man want to have sex with you
Say no because if you say no you protect yourself

All people don’t forget that you are HIV positive,
All people hate you because they
Scared to get the disease.

I want to say into all girl stop having sex
When you unmarried because you get a problem
With this disease
And no-one want you as a wife

And I want to say into the boys don’t
Force a girl to have sex because we get a disease
And the disease is the killer

KN
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

AIDS poem
HIV/AIDS what a deadly disease you are.
You destroy and kill the nation
If only people would realise
Your danger
They would try to protect themselves

HIV and AIDS
Its here and going nowhere
If people of the world would have known you
Better
None of this would be happening.
People of different races, sexes and cultures,
Are vanishing into the thin air

If people of the world knew you were
This deadly disease
They would act straight.

It will be here for centuries to come
So lets start now, and teach our young ones
To know better and not be destroyed by it

The next generation will come and it will still be here
One only thing, it will be there
But it won’t destroy generations to come.

They would have been taught and would
Know of this deadly
HIV and AIDS,
Here and will destroy no more

All because of knowledge
And power of choice
HIV and AIDS
Here and going nowhere

By BS
Grade 7A
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

HIV/AIDS**
AIDS is a killer disease
Aid is not expensive

Because of an illness
The cause of killer illness

HIV is stand for
Human Immunodeficiency virus
AIDS is stand for
Aquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Don’t go away to night
With boys, because AIDS is here
If you don’t respect your parents
Because of AIDS
Because of Boys
AIDS is kill

If you have AIDS
Eat fruits
And soft food and vegetables
If you have AIDS you have
Many illness cause of AIDS

If you have AIDS
You have some wound
Some Headache, Backache,
Some come thin and tall

Some have AIDS go
To rape children and
Said if you sleep with children
AIDS go away.

PK
Primary schoolKaNyamazane,South Africa

Rape Poem***
Don’t be quiet
When someone
Touch your private
Go to the police
To report him or her

When somone rape you
Tell your mam or your
Friends because you
Will die or you will found
The AIDS or you will become
Pregnant

Do not go to the tavern
Because when the mans
was drink, they will rape
you or they will kill you
don’t ask the lift because
they will rape you.

SK
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

* Culturally the young people writing these poems are living in a time of mixed messages (like our U.K young people).  They were getting strong messages from church, teachers and family that sex before marriage was a sin and it would be their own fault if they got HIV because having sex caused it therefore abstinence was the only way to protect themselves, combined with lots of health promotion campaigns about safer sex, rape  prevention, campaigns to address stigma and prejudice for people living with HIV.  I think this confusion comes across in their poetry.

**  You will notice that a few of them mention eating vegetables to stay healthy.  I am not entirely sure whether this is linked to Mbeki’s- “sweet potato HIV cure” era – I rather more think it was due to the fact that in the absence of any anti-retroviral therapy being available then staying fit and healthy was the most widespread piece of health promotion for those living with HIV.

*** In South Africa rape is unfortunately a huge issue.  Although huge inroads have been made into combatting the myth -“Having sex with a virgin will cure you of HIV”, when I was there I definitely saw its continuing ugly existence from talking to people.  Sadly in some utterly horrific cases this has lead to babies being raped.  I worked in a rape crisis centre out there for a while and some of the cases we saw absolutely broke my heart, and the strength and resilience some of the survivors showed was truly awe inspiring. Many young people I worked with had either experienced rape or knew someone close to them who had.   Rape prevention campaigns were widespread but as you can see the notion of victim blaming (Ie. say no to unwanted sex, don’t go near drunk men etc) are widespread (as they are in this country).    I decided to leave the Rape Poem in as although distressing – that was her voice and her experience and I was not going to silence it/sanitise it for the sake of my blog readers.

Please take a moment to reflect on these poems and consider how you could use the voice of these young people in your classroom/school.

A leetle bit of a rant about the PSHE Review


Sigh.

I’m a very busy girl at the minute, I work, I volunteer, I write, I parent etc etc. and I think many of you reading this (especially the teachers on first week back after half term) are in exactly the same position.

I have had “COMPLETE PSHE REVIEW” on my to-do list for ages now.  It’s due at end of November.   I genuinely meant to blog sample answers to help people filling it in and all sorts, but having looked and looked at the DfE consultation documents I simply do not have the time to go through and do any of them justice because there is just so so much I want to think about and write and say and rant and shout and ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH why did they have to make this such a complicated process? (and the cynical part of me wonders if this is deliberate- I mean if even me- “Ms. Completely Obsessed by all things PSHE” is really struggling then “Mr/Ms.Takingavagueinterest” aren’t going to bother are they?)

Now I am also bemused as to why PSHE needed to be entirely separated out of the rest of the curriculum review process as it is still a subject that forms part of the curriculum- it doesn’t really need special treatment.  I am also bemused as to why we are having ANOTHER review? The joys of a new government throwing the baby out with the bathwater- so much amazing work has already been done reviewing PSHE (in particular SRE) so why on earth are we not building on from this and actually improving things? But no we must now go back to consultation stage just because we have a new government in power.  Sigh sigh sigh.

But anyhow although I needed to rant about this the wonderful PSHE Association have come to my rescue with helpful surveys and events I can feed into (but survey closes tomorrow so hurry up!).  The lovely  Sex Education Forum have also launched a survey and held events. Plus I know organisations like Mumsnet, British Humanist Society etc are also planning on formulating responses, so rather than getting stressed about not having time to feed into review as an individual, feed into it as a member of your organisation- strength in numbers and all that- the most important thing is to try to feed into it somehow no matter how busy you are-no excuses- myself included!

*bossy face*

Sunday Morning Live- The story so far- Updated 1st Nov


On the 16th October the BBC show Sunday Morning Live featured a “discussion” on sex education.  I appeared via webcam on this show and following my appearance I blogged an immediate reflection (here) .

On the 17th October I posted further clarification (here).  Many people were motivated to complain to the BBC and people shared sample letters that I posted here.

19th October- The BBC responded initially to one of the complaint letters (scroll to bottom of post here

20th Oct-

24th October- PSHE Association also responds “Our statement on the “BBC Sunday Morning Live Discussion”

25th October- The BBC responds further to complaints

26th October-  I responded via this blogpost to set things straight about how and why I was asked to appear.

28th October TES publish On the Naughty Step conduct that deserves a ticking off.

Watch this space for further developments.