Sex education needs updating, says Clegg

Science teacher jobs could soon involve helping pupils learn about sex and the dangers of the internet. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said sex education guidance needs updating and should apply to all schools. He believes the existing guidelines are not enough to keep children safe and need to be altered to reflect the “menacing” nature of the internet.

Mr Clegg explained he has not yet convinced all the Conservative members of the coalition government that sex education needs a revamp in all English schools – including academies and free schools – but education secretary Michael Gove has said teachers will be given the required resources and trusted to get it right.

The deputy prime minister’s comments came after a 17-year-old female caller on his LBC radio phone-in warned that schoolchildren are under pressure to behave ‘like porn stars’ online and Mr Clegg agreed that the world is a “very different place” to the one of 13 years ago when the current guidance was introduced.

He also expressed concern that there are lots of schools – academies and free schools – that do not even need to follow the existing and outdated guidelines, as they do not need to teach the national curriculum.

Mr Clegg said: “The national curriculum, even though that doesn’t need to be taught by all schools, does sort of at least raise the expectations that schools should teach this.” He stressed that Mr Gove was a “perfectly intelligent bloke” and they had “compromised”.

Lucy Emmerson of the Sex Education Forum agreed with the Lib Dem leader’s sentiments and hopes that they will be reflected in the newer versions of the national curriculum, as she explained that the latest version has dropped all mention of sexual health from science and excluded naming genitalia.

Am I the only one who is thinking ‘where are the parents’ involvement in all of this?’ I can see what Mr Clegg is saying, particularly in light of recent events and because of how dangerous the internet can be to young people, but this is something I personally believe that parents should be talking to their kids about, not teachers having to teach it. I am a believer that education involves 3 parties: teacher, pupils and parents. A lot of emphasis is placed on the former 2 but not so much on the latter. What I would like to see are guidelines for parents to use to educate their kids as well as teachers.

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