Guide on sex is 'too little too late'

21st April 2000 at 01:00
GOVERNMENT sex education guidelines start too late and fail to address teachers' questions about what should and should not be taught, according to the Sex Education Forum.

The new guidance on the teaching of sex and relationships backs marriage and family life while making it clear that it is not the job of the teacher to promote sexual orientation.

The Sex Education Forum, which is made up of 48 religious, health, education and parent organisations, claimed the lack of guidance on teaching issues such as puberty to younger children, will do little to reduce the rising tide of teenage pregnancies.

A 12-minute video produced by young people - Please, minister, can we have better sex education? - has been presented to the Government as part of the consultation which ended this week.

It says children want to talk about what leds to sex, how to handle relationships, underage pregnancies, sexually-transmitted infections and homosexuality.

Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and abortion in Europe. Doctors have reported a rapid rise in sexually-transmitted diseases in teenage girls.

Simon Blake, director of the forum, said: "There are some very good bits in the guidance, but some of it starts at age 10 and 11. For many children, waiting until then is too late. The Government needs to be authoritative and clear that it accepts the evidence which shows that sex education delays sexual experimentation and encourages use of contraception."

Final guidelines are expected to be announced later in the year. A spokesman said it was still the Government's intention to repeal Section 28, which bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

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