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Sex education in UK schools ‘poor’

Good sex education in UK schools is at best fragmented and at worst non-existent, according to a new study carried out by the UK schools inspection body, Ofsted.

The study, which looked at the provision of Personal, Social and Health Education in more than 60 schools, discovered that on average, just 60 minutes per week is spent teaching and discussing PSHE related issues, and that this teaching is often left to untrained and overstretched form tutors. In some schools, such education did not even exist; meaning pupils received little or no information about sex and other personal matters. This, said Ofsted’s chief inspector David Bell, is a completely “untenable” situation, particularly given the high levels of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies now occurring among school aged children in the UK.

In response to the findings, the Qualification and Curriculum Authority has produced a guide for schools that outlines how best to assess pupils’ progress in PSHE lessons. Some have suggested this may lead to yet more exams for already overburdened students. However ministers have insisted that they are simply trying to create a system that a) ensures all pupils receive accurate information, and b) enables teachers to assess how much of this information has been taken on board.