In the United Kingdom, Liberal Democrats desire all state-funded schools to begin a course, Curriculum for Life, which covers personal, social, and health education (PSHE) to ensure that children will be taught necessary life skills.
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:
“It is vitally important that children learn all the life skills they need when they are at school, and Liberal Democrats believe that should include learning financial literacy, citizenship and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.
“We have long made the case, both inside and outside Government, for updated sex and relationship education to be taught in all schools, including academies and free schools, but it is not something the Conservatives are open to. We believe that by educating children about sex and relationships in an appropriate way we can help them to make informed choices in their personal lives and ensure that they have the best opportunity to succeed in life.”
The fact that PSHE will be compulsory has been strongly criticized by Conservatives among the coalition government.
Liberal Democrats believe that age-appropriate sex education should begin at the age of seven. Under current regulations, sex and relationship education in council-run secondary schools is compulsory, but not for academies, free schools, and primary school students.
Laws says that PSHE is the perfect place to introduce citizenship and financial literacy, but education is one of the areas where party tensions are strong, according to Andrew Sparrow of The Guardian. The Liberal Democrats will enter the next election promising that students who attend faith schools, academies, and free schools will be guaranteed that the Curriculum for Life will be a part of their education if the Lib Dems win the election, says The Times reporter Laura Patel.
Laws said, “By learning how to manage money and be a good citizen, we will be equipping children with the skills necessary to deal with the many practical issues that they will face in adult life, such as balancing a budget or voting for the first time.
“Teaching these important life lessons will help to build the stronger economy and fairer society that Liberal Democrats want to see.”
Currently, school regulations allow parents who do not want their children to participate in sex education out of those classes, says Steven Swinford of The Telegraph. According to a Department for Education employee, “We trust teachers rather than bureaucrats in Whitehall to decide how best to deliver relationship education in their schools. Ofsted already expects schools to look at the risks associated with exploitation and relationships, so it is difficult to see how schools could avoid teaching this.”
The results of a recent survey for the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), a think tank in the UK, gave the following results were found:
• Almost half of teenagers say that sending sexually explicit pictures by mobile phone is an everyday occurrence.
• Eight out of 10 18-year-old young people believe that pornography is too easy to obtain, often by accident, and that it has made the growing-up process more difficult.
• Two-thirds of British teenagers believe that people today are too casual about relationships and sex.
• Some older teens blame their parents for not doing enough to keep them from engaging in sexual behaviors or to protect them from the influence of pornography.
• Some even stated that they felt “pressured” into sex by teachers in sex ed who said that it was “normal” to have sex before the age of consent, if contraception was used.