While sex education in schools has been compulsory in England since 2017, it has been in discussion that the curriculum will be expanded to be more up to date. Students will now be taught about menstrual health and the menstrual cycle starting in primary school. By 2020, it will be compulsory teaching in primary and secondary schools.
Surely information of such importance should ultimately be compulsory everywhere. The teaching goes even further beyond the knowledge; it can save lives. Medical conditions surrounding menstrual health should be talked about. Educating young people on what is normal when it comes to menstrual health is more important than ever. In a time of changing and developing, young people should have a safe environment to discuss these things. This is something that people have called ‘embarrassing’ and it has forced people with periods to feel ashamed and hide it. This will ultimately contribute to breaking the stigma when it comes to periods and normalising it for our future generations.
Further additions to the curriculum will also include consent, relationships, mental health, domestic abuse and staying safe online. It will also be LGBT+ inclusive.
It comes down to a matter of safety and education. Making this information accessible in a school environment will provide them with the knowledge they wouldn’t get from their maths or geography lessons. It will mean less internet searching for things they don’t understand which we all know is notorious for misinformation. This development in teaching, if done correctly with age-appropriate lessons and inclusion of all sexual and gender identities, will be essential for the future. It will be valuable experience that will mould them for the real world. Not only will it teach them how to keep themselves safe, but also how to be themselves.
Hopefully this is a new beginning for sex education as it has not been a priority for many years. What has been taught in schools in recent memory has been the bare minimum about sex and puberty but it is mostly brushed over quickly with no real focus on new and important issues. It is about providing the next generation with the ability to be better and understand the world around them. While there will always be more progress to be made, this will be a huge step in the right direction for education.