A rant about The Times and their inaccurate reporting of Sex Education


So on Friday I caught wind of this headline. “Sexual Health Lessons to be scrapped in review of schools”

Except the blimming Times had gone to Pay Per View and I didn’t want to pay a £1.  So I got tweeting.  We all suspected it would be inaccurate reporting on the curriculum review by Cambridge Assessment , which was much better reported here.

But I had to be sure.  So I caved in and paid my £1.  And of course we were right:

The only mention was: “Lessons in citizenship, sexual health, thinking and functional skills are set to be dropped by many schools in a radical slimming down of the national curriculum.”

Now that’s a bit rubbish and vague really isn’t it?  So the Times YET AGAIN are using misleading headlines about Sex and Relationship Education to sell their paper.

Now this report has been much better addressed by Simon Blake Chief Exec of Brook- here.  so no point in needless repetition but suffice to say I am NOT happy with Rupert Murdoch.  He owes me £1. But I had to also rant about the headline to save you the £1- Just. Don’t. Bother….

But back when the Times content was free there was another headline that really really pissed me off:

“Pupils aged 11 to learn about gay sex”

read the article (it’s free so no £1 needed but I am sorry it will lead to an increase in Times web traffic! ) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article6182162.ece

So where in the article is the mention of all this gay sex we will be teaching 11 year olds?  Grrrrrrrrr!  Such  a biased headline (with homophobic intent) that I don’t know where to start with it.

But to clarify in case the headline has confused you:

Sex Education may cover different sexual activities in an age appropriate way.  It is unlikely (but not impossible) these will come up aged 11 since the focus is often clarifying reproduction and puberty at that age.  None of the sexual activities that come up are exclusively “gay or straight” sexual activities (In fact there is only one activity I know of which is exclusive* but all the others are not sexual orientation specific).  Schools also have a legal responsibility to combat all types of bullying including homophobia. Therefore discussions on sexual orientation may or may not be included as part of a schools sex and relationship education programme or it maybe covered elsewhere.  So this notion of “teaching gay sex to 11 year olds” is misleading and gives such an inaccurate representation of what SRE actually is.

As a brief aside to help the newer educator to sex education the question  “How do gay people have sex” will often come up but a stock (and slightly cop out TBH)  answer you could adapt/use is:

“Sex is about being close to someone you care about and expressing those feelings using your body.  You can do that in many different ways and those ways are not specific to whether your sexual orientation.”

I will be blogging some “stock answers” to those difficult questions in sex & relationships education (including ones about oral and anal sex) sometime soon.

Anyhow as a result of my crossness I started a “If I was in charge of sex and relationship education I would……” campaign on Twitter which I am going to blog about next…. in my big bloggy monday morning!

Happy Educating!

(*Tribadism- exclusive to Lesbians due to its nature. But can honestly say tribadism has never come up in a lesson! But do let me know if I have missed any other “exclusively gay, straight or lesbian sexual activities!”) .