Sex education would start from the age of seven and would form part of secondary education curriculum in every state-funded school in England, under a plan that will be part of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto.
The ‘age-appropriate’ discussion of sex would be included in a series of classes to prepare children for the outside world, which would also cover citizenship and management of money.
Sex education is compulsory in council-run secondary schools, but not in primary schools or in state-funded academies or free schools.
A report by Ofsted last year criticised the quality of sex education in state schools. A survey of 500 18-year-olds published last week by the think-tank the IPPR suggested that a very high proportion of teenagers, particularly boys, have seen pornography on the internet, but a majority also believes that pornography harms relationships, and were dissatisfied with school sex education.
Video: How early should we teach our kids about sex?
David Laws, the Liberal Democrat schools minister said: “It is vitally important that children learn all the life skills they need... at school.”