Many 13-year-olds have sent photographs of themselves naked or performing sex acts by text to classmates, according to a classroom survey, and Ofsted wants PHSE to cover more ‘controversial issues’.
The survey reveals that 10 year-olds are routinely having sex and sending explicit pictures of themselves to classmates The Telegraph reports. The study also showed the average child is first exposed to pornography at the age of 11. One teacher said that some pupils are so pressured to send sexual photos they trawl the internet looking at child porn to find suitable images they can send.
Michelle Barry, who works with thousands of children aged seven upwards as part of a preventative education project, said: “I was gobsmacked when I asked a class of 13 year-olds if they had ever sent naked pictures of themselves and not a single hand did not go up. What is most worrying is the fact young people do not identify this as a problem. For them it is part and parcel of school life.”
A new report from Ofsted into PHSE found that lessons were poorly presented in half of secondary schools and a failure to tackle areas such as healthy sexual relationships, consent and the influence of porn could leave pupils open to exploitation as they grow up.
In primary schools, the Inspectors say, too much emphasis is placed on friendships and relationships when teaching sex and relationships education and this can leave pupils ill-prepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty. In secondary schools, too much emphasis is placed on the ‘mechanics’ of reproduction rather than on the importance of healthy sexual relationships.
Last week guidance from The Sex Education Forum, a coalition of more than 90 organisations including the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, encouraged teachers to introduce pornography into the classroom, using sex education lessons to explain that porn is ‘not all bad’ and ‘hugely diverse’. Critics of the guidance said that parents would be ‘horrified’ by the possible introduction of pornography into classroom lessons.
Are you shocked by the survey’s findings? And do you agree with Ofsted’s views on PHSE education?