Conferences for pupils 'confused' by sex

RELATIONSHIP conferences are being held for pupils at a leading Suffolk school after it emerged some of them had “patchy” knowledge about sex.

Laurence Cawley

RELATIONSHIP conferences are being held for pupils at a leading Suffolk school after it emerged some of them had “patchy” knowledge about sex.

Although all pupils are supposed to receive sex education during their school lives, staff at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, realised not all of its pupils had been given enough information and some were confused about some aspects of sex and relationships.

The school has held the first of a series of sex and relationship conferences, with 175 year 11 pupils attending. Staff are taking a different approach to sex education by being frank with students about male and female anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, relationships and contraception.


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The conferences, which have included pupils being handed condoms and shown videos of human genitalia, are being overseen by deputy headteacher Wynn Rees.

Feedback from pupils, in which 88% said they had learned new facts and 93% said the session was informative, has left school managers committed to holding further conferences for other year groups.

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Mr Rees said: “The main reason we decided to do this conference is we became aware that although they were supposed to have sex education some felt they had far too little.

“What we have done is be very open, frank and honest and offer very straight forward sex education. I see no point in being coy or mealy-mouthed about these issues.”

He said the need to make sure all pupils approaching the age of 16 had a thorough understanding of sex issues was underlined by the fact the UK had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and one in 10 sexually active teenagers was carrying a sexually transmitted disease.

The school is now planning to expand the conferences to years nine and 10 and to prepare a dedicated set of topics for a sixth form sex education conference.

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