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Sex Education - do I have to teach it?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by pizzalova, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. I have just watched the sex ed video I am supposed to show my year 5 class and it is very explicit and in my opinion, utterly inappropriate for their age. I really am not happy teaching it to this extent or to have to view it alongside my 9 and 10 year olds. Does anyone know if I can refuse to teach it without risking my job? It really does compromise my own values and I am utterly uncomfortable with it. I can’t believe we are attempting to rob children of their innocence with material that goes into such graphic detail. Can someone advise please?
     
  2. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    What values do you feel it compromises? Are they religious? If so, do you work in a religious school?

    I don't think it robs children of their innocence, but that's for another debate. What does the video actually show?

    I think you can opt out of teaching it. I don't see the harm in asking your head and telling them how you feel.
     
  3. The values I feel are compromised are mine! I am a mother of three children and I certainly would not wish my children, aged 7, 9 and 10, to watch an erectile penis entering a vagina which is described as moist and slimy! If I am a prude, or old-fashioned, then I am proud to be so. Someone needs to uphold traditional values in an education system which is pushing for children as young as 5 to learn about relationships and reproduction. In my opinion, this level of detail is suitable at secondary level, not at primary level. The material shown should be age appropriate and since 9 year olds are mostly (one would hope!) unlikely to be engaged in sexual activities then why violate their innocence? Yes, I appreciate they need to know about changes to their bodies: periods, wet dreams etc, as that is what is happening to them now .... but sex and childbirth is not!
     
  4. The more information you arm a young person with the better choices they can make. Curiosity and ignorance makes babies and spreads disease.
     
  5. Yes you do have to teach it, it's arguably one of the most important things you will ever teach. Children who find out about sex in a caring and safe environment will be more comfortable about empowered about it that children who aren't taught it or are taught by people who clearly feel uncomfortable about it. Maybe you could get a less uncomfortable colleague to teach it? Or have a look at the channel 4 sex ed programmes, all available online on teachers tv and called 'living and growing' and see if your school would let you show them instead. They also talk about sex, masturbation, wet dreams etc but I think in a very easy going, low key way.
     
  6. I am getting ready to teach my Year 6s sex ed and in my opinion its a bit late - they already have so many strange misconceptions and in my opinion an unhealthy view of sex, sexuality and what happens as their body changes. I work in an area of high teenage pregnancy so think this is one of the most important things I can teach (agreeing with the above poster) BUT on the other hand I also believe it need to be done in a sensitive manner - your video sounds a little graphic to be honest??? Parents do have the option to remove their children?
     
  7. I don't think 'sex' is appropritate at primary level. Our years 5 girls get puberty (ie physcial changes and emotions) and a period talk. Our year 6s (boys and girls) get puberty, including periods and wet dreams, includes an erect penis but not sex. I think this is a bit too much info for 9/10 year olds - no need!
     
  8. My daughter is ten and has a great deal of innocence. However she has known the facts of life since she was five when she asked me about it and wasn't content with a brief explanation. I think knowing about sex and relationships it so important, as it is ignorance that leads to all kinds of problems. She had the sex talk at school a few weeks ago and wanted to come home and talk to me about it, as she had a couple of additional questions. I think she did so because she knows I will tell her the facts and not be prudish about it. She feels safe to do this. Surely it is important to answer questions that children may have and and children of that age already have lots of questions!



     
  9. No need to teach them properly about something natural and normal, yet of course we can expose them to distorted views and ways of learning about sex. Never mind happily exposing them to violence as if that is perfectly normal.
     
  10. We teach children about puberty in Year 5 and then they learn about reproduction in Year 6. We are very lucky because we have a school nurse who comes in and she is excellent - always answering the children's questions in a sensible way.
    Personally, I (and my mum who I repeated the info to that evening) remember the day I was told about sex - I was in Year 3 and a girl in my class told me about it during a playtime. When we taught sex education this year, the majority of children already knew the basic facts but with some interesting (and not all true) twists and additions given mostly by older brothers and sisters.
    I think sex education is incredibly important, especially as it is something that some children will never talk about with their parents at home. They should be taught the facts.
     
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Senior commenter

    it's the only sort you can get
     
  12. Thank you all for your posts. Naturally we all have different views on the subject. My views remain unchanged - puberty education is totally appropriate for 9/10 year olds; sex education with graphic images of intercourse imo, is not. The children in my class have already expressed their anxieties at watching the video and one sensitive little boy whose parents consented to him viewing the video, burst into tears and told me he did not want to watch it eventhough his parents did!
    Coincidentally, I watched the 'sex ed' video at my oldest daughter's CofE school and it was nothing like the one I am having to show. So, my question remains - can I refuse to teach it? Sex education is currently not compulsory at primary level and parents can opt to withdraw their children from it. Can I opt out of teaching it??? Thanks.
     
  13. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Senior commenter

    if they've already seen it you won't need to show it again, surely
     
  14. The parent concerned waived their right to view the video in advance of the class viewing. The class have not seen it yet but they are aware that it is imminent.
     
  15. I'm concerned that you have children crying at the prospect of the sessions. I wonder if your anxietys are spreading to the children. My class love doing sex ed. They know they will get their questions answered in a non-embarrassing way and they leave my class feeling confident and unashamed and relaxed about it all (I know this because parents have repeatedly told me.)

    If you really don't want to teach it, if I were your headteacher I'd get someone else to teach it. One of the main things you pass on to the children is an attitude and an approach to life and I wouldn't want children of mine taught by someone not comfortable with it. Tell your head.

    I doubt you can 'refuse' to teach it. Seriously, look at the other videos I've suggested. You could suggest an alternative.
     
  16. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Senior commenter

    if that's the case how did the boy see it?
     
  17. Do you still have a school nurse or a community nurse, healthy school coordinator who may be able to help or put you in touch with someone who may be able to help you teach it if you are not happy, but like a previous poster I think you do have to teach it as you should have a SRE policy in school. If you have look at that and see what it says about Sex education.
     
  18. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Exactly my thoughts.

    My class also have loads of questions and they know that I'm open to talk to them. They all feel really good about the sessions after. I think, in part, that is because they know I will be open with them. Does that mean I whip out a copy of playboy? No. It means they get some of their pre-conceptions (that nearly every 10/11 year old will have) answered properly.
     
  19. I think a lot of people are talking about two different things here - the OP seems to be objecting to the very graphic nature of the video they are required to show by the school. A lot of other posters seem to be interpeting this as the OP not wanting anything to do with bodies, sex or puberty education. The OP has already quite clearly stated that its not the subject per se they object to, just the level of detail and the very graphic nature of the video, which they consider innappropriate. I would imagine they teach in an area where there isn't high teen pregnancy, similar to my school's area (I've just done sex ed with year 5. None of the girls knew what a period was and were initally terrified of bleeding every month. Low level sex ed. Low level teenage Pregnancy. So the 'if you don't teach them they will be knocked up by 15' arguement doesn't always ring true, it depends hugely on outside school influences (if anything imho I would say very much more so, but that's another debate).)
    OP - go to the head and say you think the video is innappropriate so can you either use different materials, or get someone else to do it, you are happy to cover someone else's class whilst they come and deliver it, or suggest they get a nurse in from County who is 'far more qualified to talk about the subject' than you (pleading ignorance and 'I'll do a **** job' is a good get out clause I find :p)
    Good luck

     
  20. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    In years gone by you were allowed to opt out as a teacher.
     

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