Facing up to the facts with confidence
The amendment to the 1993 Education Act caused controversy, anxiety, and even anger, but it also put sex education firmly back on the agenda for schools. Those concerned with sex education have redoubled their efforts to provide resources which enable young people to grow up with confidence in a changing and challenging world.
The Family Planning Association's Sex Education Fact Pack has been updated, combining two previously successful resources. It places all current information about sex education at the fingertips of teachers, governors and health educators. DFE Circular 594 is included together with information about under-16s and confidentiality, a guide for school governors, a comprehensive resource list and a selection of FPA fact sheets. These cover statistics, religious issues, research and legal aspects.
Also included is Developing Sex Education in Schools: A Practical Guide by Gill Mullinar which replaces Doreen Massey's popular School Sex Education: Why, What and How? This covers all aspects of the subject for primary, secondary and special schools including legal requirements, working with parents and monitoring and evaluation. Workshop outlines are included for teachers, governors and parents. The pack offers concise, usable materials which will save teachers' valuable time - not least in searching for information and circulars in the ever increasing mountains of paperwork.
The Sex Education Sourcebook: Current Issues and Debates is a compilation of essays by some of the best-known names in sex education edited by Doreen Massey. Each chapter provides an overview of a different issue together with practical advice and ideas for workshops or other activities. Topics include gender, sexuality, young people with severe learning difficulties, governors, parents and sex education for boys and young men.
The format and layout of the book is less accessible than the Fact Pack, but the content will be welcomed by those involved in sex education.
Resources published by local authorities have the advantage of stemming directly from current classroom practice. One of my favourites is Sexwise II by Lorna Scott with Jane Hood and Jane Jenks. It's an accessible, practical guide for governors and teachers in developing and reviewing sex education policies, for staff implementation, and for all involved in support and training.
The information is relevant and clear, the framework for policy development is workable and the advice on issues such as dealing with disclosure reassuring. The workshop programmes and training activities are flexible enough for a variety of audiences and effective. I know, I have used them. At Pounds 15 this is real value for money.
Girls Have Long Hair is a photocopiable resource pack produced as a result of research in Enfield to discover what primary school children knew about sexual differences, growing up and relationships. Terry Brown used the Draw and Write Technique developed by the Health Education Unit at Southampton University to find out whether pupils could name the parts of the body, identify the differences between males and females, the changes that take place during growing up, and how people use their bodies to show others they love them.
The resource contains the research results plus work modules, colour photographs of children's work and exercises and handouts for teachers to use in their research.
The importance of "starting where children are at" cannot be underestimated. This resource is an excellent example of using the Draw and Write Technique - one of the most effective and credible research approaches. Teachers of key stage 2 pupils will find it informative, practical and easy to use.