Sex education is failing under-16s, say inspectors

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Teenagers have become less worried about HIV and Aids since schools cut the time spent on the topic in sex-education lessons, inspectors warned yesterday.

Teenagers have become less worried about HIV and Aids since schools cut the time spent on the topic in sex-education lessons, inspectors warned yesterday.

A report by Ofsted, the Government's education standards watchdog, also said that one in four lessons on preventing sexual infections was poorly delivered.

The result, according to the survey, is that far fewer youngsters today worry about the dangers of HIV and Aids compared with a decade ago.

In 1993, nearly 35 per cent of 14 and 15-year-old girls and 28 per cent of boys were worried about the danger compared to just 12 per cent and 8 per cent respectively by the end of the decade.

The report added that half of the under-16s who were sexually active did not use a condom the first time they had sex.

The report, based on a survey of 140 schools and 650 young people, calls on secondary schools to pay more attention to teaching pupils about HIV and Aids. It says that teachers are better at talking about the science of reproduction than teaching about parenthood and the value of relationships.

The report also showed a drop in the number of pupils who identified parents as their main source of information about sexual relationships. In 1983 the figure was 55 per cent amongst girls aged 14 and 15, compared with just 30 per cent 15 years later. Amongst 12- and 13-year-old boys, the figure had dropped from 31 per cent to 21 per cent.

The inspectors suggested teachers should use teenagers' magazines to prompt discussion of relationships. The report also urged schools to provide more advice for parents, especially fathers, to help them to talk more fully about sex and relationships with their children.

It said sex-education lessons were better delivered by a specially trained teacher. Mostpoorly delivered lessons happened when the subject had been left to the form tutor.

The report criticised schools for a reluctance to tackle issues like homosexuality. A 14-year-old at an all-boys' school said: "We never talk about homosexuality. There are over a thousand boys in this school and it must be an issue for some of them. But the staff seem scared to talk about it."

Mike Tomlinson, the chief inspector of schools, said: "Sex and relationships education is relevant to all pupils. It is not just about academic learning, it is potentially about our pupils' health and well-being for the rest of their lives."

Comments