Rape classes from 11 for British schoolchildren

The classes will begin this year as fears teenagers are being coerced into sex

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The Independent Online

Pupils are to learn the differences between rape and consensual sex from the age of 11 as part of a drive to equip pupils with the necessary skills for "life in modern Britain".

The age-appropriate "consent classes", which could be introduced as soon as after the Easter holidays, are to be added to the personal, social, health and economic syllabus after concerns were raised that teenagers were being pressured to have sex. 

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, publicised the move on International Women's Day.

“We have to face the fact that many pressures girls face today were unimaginable to my generation and it's our duty to ensure that our daughters leave school able to navigate the challenges and choices they'll face in adulthood,” she wrote in the Sunday Times.

“We have to ensure that the education girls receive not only allows them to reach their academic potential, but also prepares them for life in modern Britain,” she added.

The normalisation of porn and the rise of sexting and revenge porn among teenagers has led to calls for a more robust response in schools.

Themes that will be covered in the lessons include teaching children that consenting to sex once does not constitute repeated acceptance and kissing is not a tacit agreement to sex.

Common misconceptions surrounding rape will be challenged and children will be taught that most attacks are committed by someone the victim knows. Gay rape will also be addressed.

The resources for the classes will come from the PSHE Association and aim to give better guidance to allow teachers to deal more confidently with difficult subjects, such as rape and sexual education.

It is recommended that drop boxes are placed in classrooms for children to anonymously post questions as part of the lessons.

Mrs Morgan, the mother of a seven-year-old, stressed that any materials would have to age-appropriate, approved by the Department for Education and not be “at odds with fundamental British values”.