What age does sex education in school begin in the UK?

What age do you start to learn about sex in school and what do you learn at what age?

Sex education in UK schools is changing (Picture: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty)

A controversial government proposal to ban sex education for children under the age of nine has been revealed.

The new age limit is set to ban teaching children any sex education until they turn nine, The Times reports.

Currently, children can be taught about sex and sexual health, including contraception, when they start secondary school at the age of 11.

Schools could also be limited on discussions the government considers ‘explicit,’ such as contraception and changing gender identity.

It means children would not be taught about contraception, STIs and abortion until the age of 13.

Under the plan, pupils would not learn about contraception until they are teenagers (Picture: Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty)

The revised sex education guidance due to be announced by the education secretary Gillian Keegan is expected to put other restrictions on teaching about gender and identity.

It is thought teachers will be told to explain ‘biological’ facts when discussing gender, The Guardian reports.

Schools will also be required to show parents samples of the material they use to educate their children, which is already a requirement in some cases.

It reportedly comes after concerns that some children are being taught age-inappropriate relationships, sex and health education, according to The Times.

However, critics have described the move.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion said on X (formerly Twitter) that ‘politicising sex education is unforgivable dangerous and reactionary,’ adding that it is always age appropriate to teach children how to stay safe.

What age does sex education start in schools in the UK?

Currently, all children must be taught relationships, sex and health education.

But the style and content vary depending on the school year and where in the UK you live.

In primary schools, children must now receive relationships education after changes to the law in September 2020.

Sex education can vary between schools and where in the UK you live, but there are some rules (Picture: Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty)

Young people in secondary school must be taught relationships, sex and health education (RSHE).

However, the quality and scope of sex education can vary ‘widely’ between schools, the Family Planning Association has warned.

What do you learn at what age?

The existing guidance sets out broad topics for children aged five to eleven in primary school.

They will learn about different types of families and healthy relationships, including friendships and boundaries.

Currently, primary schools are allowed to teach additional sex education, but it is not a requirement, the guidance says.

However, they already have to consult parents before the final year of primary school about what sex education is being taught.

Primary school, ages five to 11

By the end of primary school, children should know about:

Healthy and caring family and friendships  
Other families and relationships may look different to theirs and they should respect differences
Marriage is a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people and it is intended to be lifelong
How to recognise if relationships are making them …read more

Source:: Metro


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