10 tips for dealing with pornography in schools

17th October 2012 at 12:57
Alice Hoyle, teacher and freelance sex and relationships education adviser, offers a concise guide to dealing with pupils and pornography.

1 Know what you are dealing with

Research around the impact of pornography on young people.You need to have a good idea of the sorts of materials young people might be accessing. However you also need to recognise that evidence is mixed on the extent of the impact of"pornification"andor "sexualisation"of young people. Young people are not passive consumers - but they do need support to develop their understanding of the things they might be exposed to, or are seeking out. Bear in mind that in the absence of quality provision young people may seek out pornography for their sex and relationships education.

2 Work within your school's policies

You must follow your school's child protection policies and your school should already have strategies in place to deal with incidents such as sexting (sexual content being shared), sexual bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour on school premises.

If you develop SRE lessons around these issuesyou are contractually bound to work within your school SRE policy, so you must ensure your senior management and governors are supportive of your planned curriculum.

3Work within the legislation and guidance

Currently theDfE SRE guidance (2000)is still in place with all the legislation that underpins that. The findings from the PSHE review have not yet been released but this government is unlikely to make SRE statutory. They are also unlikely to specify guidance for supporting teachers in tackling controversial issues such as pornography. However thegovernment has stated it is committed to tackling teenage relationship abuse.

4 Ensure your school SRE provision is robust

Do not cover the more controversial sensitive stuff until you get the basics absolutely right. You can assess your current provision using audit tools from the membership area of the PSHE Association.

5Get skilled up

Make sure your SRE teachers are properly trained and confident to explore this topic with young people. TheFPA,Centre for HIVandSexual Health andBishtraining amongst others all offer training courses on this area.

6Use available teaching resourcesas a starting point for your planned curriculum

FPA resource Fantasy Versus RealityandBishTraining Planet Porn.Both are incredibly helpful to use as a resource bank and as a starting point for your planned curriculum but it is important to develop your local program to meet your student's needs.And don't forget to check out the free resources available on TES.

7Work with parents

Get them on board with your SRE curriculum. Have an SRE stand at parents' evenings to share materials you will be covering and signpost sources of parental support such asSpeakeasyandFamily Lives.

8Work with students

Discuss with young people where they get their ideas about sex and relationships from and explore what they would want to see and expect in their own relationships. Ask them:


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