NSPCC supports schools with discussions on sex education
The NSPCC’s deputy director for Yorkshire, Humber and the North East, Debra Radford, speaks to The Northern Echo about the charity’s work in schools across the country to support education about sex and relationships.
You may be aware that NSPCC volunteers visit primary schools in Yorkshire and across the country to teach children how to identify and report all types of abuse.
But did you know that we also work to support secondary school teachers in their responsibility to teach young people about sex and relationship education?
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In 2021, sex and relationship education became compulsory in all secondary schools in England. The courses help young people learn about these topics in a safe and appropriate way, rather than through playground rumors or unrealistic portrayals in film, television or online pornography.
But research we carried out with NASUWT, the teachers’ union, found that of 86 teachers surveyed in Yorkshire and the Humber, 43% did not feel comfortable teaching the subject.
The survey also revealed that 16% of local teachers did not feel comfortable answering difficult or sensitive questions during class, 86% felt they needed more resources, 90% felt that they needed more training and 65% felt supported by the government. had been poor.
As a result of these findings, and with the support of the union, we launched our Talk Relationships helpline and online resources for secondary school teachers last week.
Talk Relationships is a series of online learning resources for secondary teachers to use, which is free for all schools until at least early 2023.
The aim of our Talk Relationships resources is to increase teachers’ confidence in areas such as how to address protection concerns in a classroom, how to handle difficult questions from young people and how to lead inclusive discussions .
The resources have been tested in over a hundred schools across the UK and 82% of teachers said they found it had a positive impact on their teaching.
We felt it was important to act now to help our teachers provide the right education to young people about sex and relationships, so alongside the e-learning program the NSPCC has also launched a helpline dedicated for teachers who have questions or concerns on 0800-389-5347 or email [email protected] and put ‘Talk Relationships’ in the subject line.
Kids tell our Childline counselors all the time whether they learn about it on the playground or from pornography, and Talk Relationships is all about providing the right education in the most appropriate way.
We believe these lessons are crucial to protecting children and have campaigned for years to ensure that all children in the UK have access to a high quality education of this nature. We have worked consistently on the launch of Talk Relationships and are preparing for this moment. The lesson plans focus on a wide range of topics included in the curriculum, such as sexual harassment, healthy relationships, and sharing sexual images. Topics that are less likely to be discussed safely on the playground or online.
We know this can be a difficult subject for many young people and their parents. But we also know that young people are likely to learn about sex and relationships in one way or another, so it’s best that they learn in a safe environment and in an age-appropriate way.
The goal of Talk Relationships is to protect young people and support the teachers delivering these classes, and based on our findings, there’s no better time than now to roll out these free, comprehensive resources.
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