Forget play school for infants, sex school proposed in UK health guidelines

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), UK has come up with its latest health proposal for the improvement of public health. The latest guidance proposal from NICE says sex education should be taught to children from the age of five. This they say is important to help them make the right decisions about delaying sexual intimacy until they are mature enough.

This proposal comes in the wake of rising teenage conception in Britain that is the highest in Europe although the numbers have come down by 13% over the last 10 years. Incomplete and inappropriate sex education is to be blamed for this trend.

The proposal will not be mandatory but the organization hopes more authorities will adopt these practices. According to NICE education about sex and relationships should start from primary school that starts at the age of five. Initial introduction could be related to friendships and respect for peers and elders.

The report says, “Topics should be introduced and covered in a way that is appropriate to the maturity of pupils and is based on an understanding of their needs and is sensitive to diverse cultural, faith and family perspectives…All children and young people are entitled to high-quality education about sex, relationships and alcohol to help them make responsible decisions and acquire the skills and confidence to delay sex until they are ready.” The report referred to the research from the UK Youth Parliament that showed that 40% of the nation’s young rate their sex and relationships education in school as poor or very poor. NICE says sex and relationships education can be “more effective if it is introduced before young people first have sex” and needs to be ”factually accurate, unbiased and non-judgmental.”

Plans for introduction of sex education in primary schools were formed by the previous Labor government but never implemented. Emphasis was place on education related to appropriate contraception and forming stable and long term relationships including civil partnerships. Anti-abortion and religious groups have been criticizing these plans strongly and they want more importance to be placed on abstinence from sex before marriage. The plans were scrapped before the elections.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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