Facts of life build confidence

20th March 1998 at 00:00
Thirty schoolchildren last week talked to a government minister about violence, drugs, Aids, depression and the opposite sex.

At their lower secondary school, the College Nicolas Fouquet in Mormant, a small country town about 50 kilometres from Paris, they told schools minister Segolene Royal how a health information project had boosted their self-confidence, made them more tolerant and plugged gaps in their knowledge about sensitive issues which many of them found difficult to discuss with their parents.

For the past two-and-a-half years Nicolas Fouquet has been one of 19 coll ges taking part in a pilot scheme which, in addition to usual lessons, provides 20 hours of health education a year to pupils aged between 13 and 15. Following the scheme's positive results Mme Royal has announced plans to extend it to all lower secondaries, as part of a comprehensive relaunch of school medical services.

Each school fixes its own programme, covering not only pupils' physical and psychological well-being but also the social environment and relationships.

At Nicolas Fouquet the 12 mixed classes deal with topics including nutrition, contraception, Aids and other sexually-transmitted diseases, the body, a girl's first visit to the gynaecologist, homosexuality and tackling racism, child abuse or teenage problems.

Discussions are backed up by articles from newspapers and films such as Philadelphia, which tells the story of a gay man dying of Aids.

In one session they practise fitting a condom on a model.

Pupils are enthusiastic, even though sessions add about half an hour to their school week and sometimes take place on Wednesdays, normally a free day. Their comments reveal them as more self-confident, better able to communicate at home and at school, and less worried about adolescence.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now