The Timeline: Sex education


1870s: Social purity

The social purity movement led to a wider crusade aimed at the moral regeneration of British society, which included the belief that it was necessary for parents, rather than schools, to give children healthy and moral information about sex.



1890: The birds and bees

Geddes and Thomson's The Evolution of Sex was an important work in providing ways of talking about "the birds and the bees". It approached the topic of sexual reproduction via forms of life remote from humans, in- cluding amoebas, plants, insects and animals before finally moving on to human beings.



1910s: Enter the speakers

From 1913 to 1916 a Royal Commission heard evidence that the solution to the UK's huge VD problem was sex education. The National Council for Combating Venereal Diseases organised courses for teachers, parents and youth workers and visiting speakers for schools.



1940s: Laissez-faire lessons

The 1944 Education Act gave lip-service to the need for sex education in schools. However, it was an extremely laissez-faire situation, with individual schools being allowed to choose how they wanted to approach the subject, and there was little government support.



1970s: Post-sexual revolution

School sex education was beginning to change significantly, largely in response to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Biology textbooks started to provide fuller accounts of human reproductive systems, while methods of contraception began to be taught widely. Birth control was incorporated into NHS provisions and began to be included in sex education.



2010: Compulsory plans fail

Plans for compulsory sex ed classes (which included contraception, abortion and homosexuality) in schools were dropped by Labour before the election after being blocked by the Tories. The move was welcomed by faith groups, who wanted the choice to opt out.



2011: Modern sex ed hits TV

Channel 4 brought a modern take on sex education to the small screen with The Joy Of Teen Sex. The programme reached millions of teens and their parents but was criticised by a coalition of sexual health practioners for "portraying inaccurate or outdated and misleading representations of sex education".

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
people
News
Amazon's drones were unveiled last year.
business
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Life and Style
Worth shelling out for: Atlantic lobsters are especially meaty
food + drink
News
i100
Sport
Gareth Bale
footballPaul Scholes on how Real Madrid's Welsh winger would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford if he leaves Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Lily James in ‘Cinderella’
film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Lead Quality Auditor

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Identifying and communicating issues raised, p...

    Recruitment Genius: Weekend Catering Supervisor - Temporary

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To be responsible for working with the Caterin...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - Infrastructure / VMWare - Hertfordshire

    £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established industry leading business is l...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Hertfordshire -Large Established Business

    £22000 - £28000 per annum + study support, gym: Ashdown Group: A large busines...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss