Addressing sexualisation – where to begin in the classroom?

Challenging sexualisation can begin with a simple discussion with KS1 classes about gender stereotyping: what are the differences between boys and girls, what can they do, how do they look and so on.   The media constantly encourages children to be aware of their appearance and presents stylised ideals of body image for both girls and boys.  With the onset of puberty, these body images quickly become a lot more relevant to the changes that are happening to their own bodies.   Equipping KS2 children with the skills to manage these changes and understand why they are happening – and that they will be happening to their classmates too – is a vital part of SRE in primary school.  Reinforcing the message that we are all different and that that is what makes us individual and interesting, is part of the process of children learning to have confidence in who they are. This forms the basis for discussing what makes a safe and happy relationship with friends and family; children can then explore how and why an adult sexual relationship is different from their own relationships, and what personal qualities are important when forming an adult relationship.  Giving children the opportunity to discuss these issues in a structured way during transition to secondary school increases their confidence to sensibly tackle more complex issues, such as pornography and sexual consent, later on in the secondary PSHE curriculum.

Ten Minute Rule Bill 17th October

The Christopher Winter Project wish MP Diana Johnson every success in the House of Commons today when she introduces The Curriculum Bill which requires the Secretary of State for Education to include Relationships, Drug and Alcohol Education in the National Curriculum, making it compulsory in all schools, including academies and free schools.

Like CWP, Diana Johnson wants drugs and alcohol education to give practical information such as the growing dangers from ‘legal highs’, the alcoholic content of different drinks and the health implications of drinking from an early age.   Young people need to be supported to make choices about drug and alcohol use and about relationships, including sexual relationships.  A structured, taught curriculum can help to kick start discussion in the classroom in a safe and supportive way.