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24.10.2008 Education

'Give young children sex education'

By ITN/UK Yahoo News
'Give young children sex education'

The study is likely to recommend a shake-up of lessons to combat concerns that current teaching of the subject in England is too patchy.

Schools minister Jim Knight is due to present the findings later, as well as the Government's responses.

The review is expected to say that sex education should be compulsory in all schools.

This could include teaching young children basic classes on the human body and relationships, with more detailed information being given as a child moves up through school.

Last week Mr Knight told MPs he had received "strong recommendations" for making sex education compulsory in all schools but said it had to be done without "sexualising young people too early".

International evidence suggests that teaching certain aspects of sex and relationship education before puberty has a "positive effect" on issues like teenage pregnancy, Mr Knight said.

Britain has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe and figures suggest rising numbers of young people are catching sexually transmitted diseases.

Current rules say pupils must be taught the biological facts of reproduction, usually in science classes, and every school must have a sex education policy.

But there is no statutory requirement for teaching about relationships and the social and emotional side of sexual behaviour.

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