25th April 2022

Teachers Call For More Time to be Allocated for Sex Education

Concern about sharing explicit images

A report by The Independent newspaper has revealed that teachers have called for more time to be allocated for sex education to prevent pupils sharing explicit images of themselves.

At the National Education Union’s annual conference in Bournemouth, many teachers called for schools to improve the quality of RSE teaching, and for more time to be allocated to completely integrate it into the curriculum.

Teacher reaction

NEU Member Amy Fletcher said that pornography was having a harmful impact on her pupils and was “laced with sexist, heteronormative, racist and ableist tropes. We can’t ignore that many of the ideas of the types of sex children want to try after watching porn may be violent.”

Another NEU member, Jon Reddiford said: “We had a really horrible set of incidents in my school in last year’s Year 11. I think it was going on for a long time before it started to emerge to staff that a number of the girls were taking explicit photos of themselves and sending it to their boyfriends, which later were being shared around. It later then emerged that some pressure was being put on the girls from their boyfriends to do this, and when we started unpicking it a little bit more that was definitely the case,”

NEU concerns

Citing a 2021 Ofsted report which found that 90% of girls and 50% of boys had reported that either they or their peers had been sent explicit pictures, the NEU raised concerns over “the prevalence of pornography which shows the harmful and humiliating treatment of women”.

The union recommended that high-quality RSE delivered by trained staff was needed and that pupils must be be given the space to question and challenge pornography. In addition to this, incidents of sexual harassment also needed to be recorded accurately in order to intervene as early as possible to prevent abuse. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said; “The majority of pornography projects a distorted view of sex and sexual relationships and it should be a matter of concern that mainstream sites regularly feature violent acts against women and girls, incest and racism. Children and young people may not have the critical analysis or maturity to understand or cope well with exposure to pornography.”