Schools in England need more resources to address the dangers of pornography, teachers say

Teachers say they need more time, training and resources to tackle the dangers of pornography in schools against the backdrop of increasing incidents of students taking and sharing sex pictures.

Delegates to the annual conference of the National Education Union heard that secondary schools in England were able to devote only a few hours a year to teaching Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum, giving them very little time to raise issues such as pornography and sexual harassment. They got up.

John Reddford, a teacher in North Somerset, told the conference that he had recently experienced “a really horrible incident” at his school involving 11-year-old students that could have been avoided with further RSE education in previous years.

“Before it appeared to the staff it was a long time ago that several girls were taking clear pictures of themselves and sending them to their boyfriends, which was then being shared around. It later emerged that the girls were being pressured by their boyfriends to do so, “said Reddford.

“It simply came to our notice then. The fact that such images were readily available to 15- and 16-year-olds, and the fact that they did not have a place in school to discuss them in a way that was appropriate for adolescents, made it more difficult for us to deal with it. “

Reddyford said it was important for the union to take a stand on the issue, “because the impact it had on us in the ’11s was enormous and we could have dealt with it better at that time.”

Bournemouth delegates unanimously passed a resolution calling for “properly funded, high quality” relationships and sex education in schools and colleges, as well as the continuous recording and reporting of sexual harassment, abuse and violence online and offline.

Amy Fletcher, a teacher at Tower Hamlets who led the movement, said: “We must acknowledge that young people will be curious about sex, and may turn to pornography if they do not get a good RSE at school.”

Sarah Byrne, a spokeswoman for Hackney, noted that the NSPCC had observed that one in 20 elementary school students shared nude photos with each other.

Byron said staff were expected to teach the current curriculum “with zero training, importantly, with the need to tackle pornography. At my school it would be a fortnightly hour. ? ”

Mary Bosted, joint general secretary of NEU, says young children may accidentally come into contact with pornography “due to algorithms” used by social media, many lacking the maturity to understand or adapt.

“There needs to be enough time in the school curriculum for relationships and sex education to empower young people around key areas of consent, self-worth and respect, as the level of sexual harassment is deeply ingrained in school and society and causes real harm and abuse,” Busted said. .

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