TW: mention of sexual abuse, please take care.
A few days ago, Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s shadow education minister unveiled plans to make sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory from Key Stage 1, when pupils are between 5-7 years old. It is part of a bid to tackle homophobia in schools and make them “zero-tolerance” areas for homophobic bullying.
I completely stand by these proposals! I tried to look online in order to gauge other people’s responses to it. In doing so I stumbled on the Daily Mail website, and the comments there completely reinforced my beliefs.
It is so important that SRE is compulsorily taught from an early age. With education comes empowerment. I’ve heard someone say that children knowing about sex at 5 is wrong – what’s wrong is some children being subjected to traumatic experiences and abuse but being too scared/confused/uninformed to feel able to seek help. That is what is wrong. I’m by no means saying that it’s as clear cut as sex ed being taught and all abuse/exploitation being eradicated, but it is absolutely vital to lay down the basics and let children know that their bodies are theirs and no-one else’s. This message may not be one given to them by their parents/carers so it is important that they do receive it from somewhere, school in this case.
On Wednesday we had a YoungMindsVs hub meeting, which focused on sexual health for the first part. Some people thought that sex ed at 5 was too young, why not save it until puberty? For me and so many others this would have been too late. Children need to know about consent, their body and inappropriate behaviour as early as they can. Why would anyone oppose to empowering our youth?