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So are five year old having sex? Six year olds?

Sex education no doubthas a role to play, but why should teaching infants about the facts of life have any impact at all?

The reality is that the welfare state has destoyed the nuclear family in the lower socioeconomic groups, and with it reduced the restrictions on young people's behaviour. Without tackling that, extra sex education is like an Asprin for a Brain Tumour.

I'm PPC for Leeds North West and a mum of a five year old. I would totally oppose sex education for five year olds. Don't know what could possibly be 'appropriate' and in any event any parent of a five year old knows they'd just ask question after question after question.

Once upon a time John Bercow was sensible now he seems to prefer the nanny state while failing to address the underlying problem correctly identified by Serf.

A complete overhaul/rethink of welfare is needed.

Sorry! Five Year Olds do NOT need to be taught about sex at school! They should learn anything they need to know such as why Mummy has developed a very fat tummy at home from their family. The idea of five year olds being sat down with diagrams and told clinically what goes where is appalling and just plain wrong. Time enough when they are older.

I agree with Sally Roberts and the others. Last week on the X Factor a woman of 26 who had 5 children (eldest now 13) was praised by the judges and given a `yes` Who I wonder, is paying for this "family" and providing finance while she pursues her singing career? You`ve guessed it - the welfare state - all of us taxpayers. No mention of a father or fathers.

Getting pregnant seems to be for some people the way to get a council house.

More nonsense from faux Conservatives like Bercow - wish he would cross the floor and be done with it.

And what exactly is appropriate for 5 year olds!
I am not sure society's problems are caused by too little sex education.

"Once upon a time John Bercow was sensible"

When? I'd say he went from one extreme to the other, barely stopping along the way. If he represented mainstream conservatism somewhere on his journey from believing everything the Monday Club said to believing everything the Guardian says, it was for all of five minutes.

For heavens sake Cameron, I want to see a Conservative Government in two years time which I won't if we have to listen to the likes of these two washy pink muppets. While they are both entitled to personal viewpoints I am sure they are not the viewpoints of the majority of party and I hope you will make that clear and distance yourself and our party from them. Leave them with the Lib Dems and "NEW" Labour.

1. The fact that Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe – "five times the figure in the Netherlands, three times that in Germany and twice that in France."

I don't know the stats for the 3 countries you mention but I would suggest that to deny welfare assistance to teenagers under 18 who become pregnant by passing the responsibility to their parents/guardians would dramatically reduce the teenage pregnancies in this country.

"Sex education" should not exist in a vacuum. We need to be teaching children about their health from a young age - even things as simple as making sure they know the basics of personal hygiene and to respect themselves and their bodies and other people. Unfortunately sex education seems to exist completely seperately to all other forms of education.

Have long been an advocate of Small Government but it is crack pot stuff of this sort that argues for no government. What the hell is the matter with MP's nowadays!

If in movies sexual content is restricted to those above say 15 (at least it should be), why is there this bizarre proposal to teach that very stuff to kids far younger? Doesnt seem very joined up, does it?

Oh dear. Why isn't the Conservative media machine keeping these idiots locked up in a dark room somewhere where they can't annoy us?

Teenage pregnancies have less to do with sex education than they do to the lack of parental involvement in children's lives, poor parental role models and a crooked benefits system.

John Bercow is not a conservative. He married a Liberal Democrat and since then has developed the courage of his wife's convictions

"Oh dear. Why isn't the Conservative media machine keeping these idiots locked up in a dark room somewhere where they can't annoy us?"

Heaven forbid that two backbench MPs choose to express an opinion.

We had sex education at 10, and we had no teen pregnancies in my year at school at all. The videos were shown to parents in advance and they were able to remove their children from if they wished. Seems sensible to me to do this at 10 but not younger...

Whatever happened to getting back to Family Virtues. My 5 year old grand-daughter knows that boys and girls are different, and that's all she needs to know. Our high percentage of disease and pregnancies is the result of the wrong type of education, at the wrong time in a child's life, which makes them curious, and gives the impression that it is "cool to do".

We had to wait in our time, and it was all the better for that.

Let's remind them that it is against the law to have sex under the age of 16, and stop all the benefits. That will cut the birth rate dramatically.

John Berk is way out of line here. We already have the New Labour policy to control what children are taught in kindergarten and that is sickening enough.

What is appropriate to teach 5 year olds about sex education is - nothing at all.

I don't think this will make any difference either way but will presumably take up school time and pile more pressure on teachers. Too often simplistic comparisons are made between the UK and other European countries without any real thought to the different cultures. We have a problem in the UK with a range of behaviours, witness the binge drinking issues. Remember we were told that a cafe culture like Europe with extended hours would solve that but in fact it has meant people drinking more for longer. The problem in Britain is that a significant minority have little sense of boundaries and responsibility and they are disrupting the lives of the rest of us. This can be improved so that the decent majority are in control again but it will be a long and determined haul. Many of the issues in Breakdown Britain are relevant and the social justice policies that the party has been working on would be helpful.

I had sex education at 5 years old. A boy in our class pinned three of us into a corner and gleefully repeated what his bigger brother had told him. 'If I weed on you' he said, pointing accurately, 'You'd have a baby'. And we went 'Yuk!'. It put me off sex for good. So I agree, yes, let's have sex for five year olds -- it'll bring the pregnancy rates down to pretty well zero

I am a school teacher and have to say this is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. In my view the way we teach sex ed is part of the problem. many teenagers must come away from the pshe lessons believing that they are out of line by not having sex. My experience suggests that the 'cool' way of teaching sex ed such as by encouraging pupils to come up with as many different names for genetia they can, simply leaves them with thed impression that its norm for them all to be messing with eachother's bits.
There is no emphasis on abstaining, no emphasis on the emotional harm sexual activity can have. Instead its put together by a load of middle class liberals who want to be 'down with the kids'. It's all done in a ' hey kids this is how you should be doing it'. No wonder kids leave tinking they should be having sex.
People llike John Berkow are clueless and frankly are an embarassment to our party.

All I can do is cry.

It won't be "sex education" will it?

It will be brainwashing about the how youngsters should regard alternative lifestyles, teenage single mums, two "daddies", multiculture and women dressed in black tents as quite "normal" and the word marriage will not be mentioned.

The state has show itself to be a rotten parent for just about every child it "takes into care" and it should not seek to expand it role here to all children

Sex education should be confined to the biology class in secondary schools.

"The fact that Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe – "five times the figure in the Netherlands, three times that in Germany and twice that in France.""

Let's look at Japan shall we. They have very low teen pregnancy rates. Do they have sex education at age 5? I don't actually know but I suspect it's more to do with social stigma. But of course that's a horribly reactionary and judgemental idea.

Also interesting is this article here:


"The much-heralded Dutch teen pregnancy, abortion and birthrates used are for all females under 20 years of age (including elementary school children), while ours are for adolescents ages 15 to 19. If you factor in prepubescent girls, naturally you come up with a much smaller number. Also, teenage girls are routinely put on the pill.

In Holland, there is a strong emphasis on delaying sexual activity. Fetal development is taught in schools, and most Dutch educators report they do not use condom demonstrations. There is little tolerance for teenage pregnancy. Unwed mothers are not subsidized the way they are in the U.S"

Note the last paragraph. Can't imagine our wannabe sex educators would approve!

So Cameron's Conservatives can fail to articulate a coherent economic policy, but they can come up with this? Dear God.

"Getting pregnant seems to be for some people the way to get a council house"

Being a recent immigrant is more certain.

It's beginning to look as if some allegedly Tory MPs want to do their best to lose the next election. The only people who should give any sex education to any child are their parents.

This idea is bonkers! What we need is for parents to take their responsibilities for parenting, perhaps that will require spending more time with our children.

It is not the job of the state to be proposing sex education for children only just out of their nappies.

Maybe it is time to start reintroducing a level of censorship to the media to curb the sexualisation of everything.

Ok, having not really read the rest of the comments (It is early in the morning, gimme a break!), I'm going o bang on ahead and suggest on what age our sex education should be carried out.

The first time should be taught (in school) is in last year of primary school or the first year of secondary school. Five is ridiculously young. When I was 5 I was more concerned with getting a puppy, and playing rugby in the garden with my father than I was with understanding where babies come from!!

andy: "Instead its put together by a load of middle class liberals who want to be 'down with the kids'. It's all done in a ' hey kids this is how you should be doing it'. No wonder kids leave tinking they should be having sex."

Completely agree. I personally feel that after learning the scientific side to sex, then taught about how sex can be had safely (but can't be safe 100% of the time), then the pupils should discuss in groups the benefits and drawbacks to abstaining from sex until marraige (or they are in a committed relationship) - which would show them they abstaining is good, and not weird.

Discussing the last two parts with parents would be embarassing, awkward, and would limit thought to what parents want to hear. Imho, peer to peer is much more educational and pupils would get more out of it.

The simple fact is that the democracies with the lowest rates of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and the highest ages of first sexual contact are those with the best and most comprehensive sex education at the earliest age. There is nothing like your teachers and parents going on about something to make it uninteresting, and nothing like forbidding something to make it attractive.

Let's just take a look at the figures, Births per 1,000 women Ages 15-19. In 2000:

Sweden 6.8
France 9.4
Canada 20.2
England and Wales 30.8
United States 48.7

Sexually trasmitted disease rates follow similar patterns.


All sex education teaches abstinence as the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs. It's abstinence-only education that's the problem. Abstinence-only education, as well as being increasing rates of STDs and teen pregnancies, states that sex should only occur within marriage, stereotypes gender roles, lies about the safety record of contraceptives and the effect of abortion and contains other scientific errors.

The Heritage Foundation is a right-wing morally conservative think tank, and this bias shows in the analysis of the data.

Most unbiased commentators including the BMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, the United States Surgeon General, and practically anyone without a moralising, rightwing religious ethos think abstinence-only education has the opposite effect to that which was intended. Put simply, even if have a right-wing, moralising ethos, abstinence-only education is a bad idea.

"The simple fact is that the democracies with the lowest rates of teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and the highest ages of first sexual contact are those with the best and most comprehensive sex education at the earliest age."

Does that include Japan?

"All sex education teaches abstinence as the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs. It's abstinence-only education that's the problem."

In Holland, there is a strong emphasis on delaying sexual activity. Fetal development is taught in schools, and most Dutch educators report they do not use condom demonstrations. There is little tolerance for teenage pregnancy. Unwed mothers are not subsidized the way they are in the U.S

Anybody who can suggest such a crazy idea as sex education at 5 has obviously never had to care for a 5 year old. This could seriously warp their lives. And as Julia said @ 0738 conversation with a 5-yr old has its own irresistible non-logic ("What's that?" It's a cow, dear!" "WHY" ) . At that age they'd be scared at the idea of their parents as active sexual beings. (even later the idea is a bit repugnant!) There's a time for innocence and a more difficult time of growing up. Don't wreck their lives.
Jonathan Galbraith @ 08.41
"More nonsense from faux Conservatives like Bercow - wish he would cross the floor and be done with it."

Of course he won't! He'd be out of a job pronto and bye=bye inflated pension. However, Buckingham Tories could do it for him if they cared. He's a disgrace to the party - again and again. Why isn't the whip withdrawn for bringing the party into disrepute.

Compare Passing Leftie's comments:
"All sex education teaches abstinence as the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs."
with those from Andy, a school teacher (10.19):
"In my view the way we teach sex ed is part of the problem. many teenagers must come away from the pshe lessons believing that they are out of line by not having sex.".
As a mother of two teenage daughters, and an ex-school governor who is familiar with what is taught in our schools, I am firmly with Andy.

Passing Leftie is talking out of his bottom.

Oh dear. The knee-jerk reactors are out in force on this one. I am not sure that anyone did suggest sex education for 5 year olds. I would object to that but there are also 11 year olds in the same schools. Is that the correct age to start talking about sex? I don't know, but I think it is a good thing that Conservatives are thinking about ways to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies. It is all very well to talk about the absence of any moral code, but that is like putting a finger in a dyke that has already burst. The first step has to be to take practicalk steps to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, and then to reinforce that by re-establishing established norms of behaviour that society will accept.

Instead of "sex education", we should see "life education" to highlight the implications of teenage and unwanted pregnancies. The problem is with our politically correct welfare state where all we say is oh dear and where do you want to live? We positively encourage teenage pregnancies.

As a party we should be positively encouraging stable, normal families, and leaving the responsibility to deal with the social, financial and welfare issues of teenage pregnancies with the families of both sides of the equation.

In all this we ignore the fact that it is against the law for minors of both sexes to have underage sex. Their parents should be penalised severely for having no control.

It all boils down to family and the lack of morality of our society.

Various woolly-minded Liberal types think it would be a good idea to teach five year olds about sex, using happy fuzzy pictures to teach our tiny darlings what a man impregnating a woman looks like. Lovely. Am I the only one who can see the absolute disaster waiting to happen here?
Little children are not sexual beings. Apart from some basic curiosity as to why their nether regions differ, they don't think about sex or, if they do, they regard it either as a huge joke or something pretty vile. This is because they are pre-pubescent: neither their minds nor their bodies are ready for sex. And to show them sexual imagery, or to talk about intercourse, is tantamount to sex abuse, because they simply cannot comprehend what's going on.
As a solution to the fact that thousands of our young people get knocked up and need a convenient little pill to eradicate their 'mistake', this is perhaps the most stupid idea to date. There are many ways to prevent sexual activity/promiscuity amongst the young, the predominant one being that the Government could drop its cutesy, coy 'if you can't be good, be careful' approach. Or by removing sexual health clinics, which are not required to disclose any information to parents, from schools, thereby ceasing to collude with the little dears' bad behaviour. Or even - this is a wild thought! - arresting a few of them and throwing them in the slammer. It's against the law to be sexually active under the age of 16, after all. We're punished for absolutely everything else: why not this? Too, we could put a strict curb on the media and prevent it from 'presexualising evolving consumers' (making children grow up too quickly) so they can actually enjoy their childhood, without the pressure to look like Cameron Diaz and act like Kate Moss and, oh, God, emulate the dreadful Amy Winehouse. We could actually come out and whole-heartedly condemn parents who allow their little girls to wear lipstick and eyeshadow and FMBs and t-shirts emblazoned with the tasteful legend 'Pornstar'. But that would be too commonsensical for our modern age, wouldn't it?

Tell me again, what Party do these two loons belong to?

@Mara MacSeoinin:
I obviously lead a sheltered life. What are FMB's? Flavoured Malt Beverages?

"...what Party do these two loons belong to?"

The Cameroon NewConservative Party led by the one true Heir to Blair!

Thank you Mark Williams for asking the question! I have no idea what FMB's are either - Foolish Mad Bats? Fruity Malt Buns?

Classic ConHome outrage. Thanks Eds.

I bet this will have got a decent: Why oh Why? out of CCHQ.

A good laugh to start the week for me with my kids at independent schools. What it feels like for those whose children will be educated under these experts is less easy to know.

Steady on chaps. You want to abolish health centres for young people, start throwing young people in jail for having sex and start censoring newspapers. And you seriously expect that such ideas could evr win an election. It makes me realise what a difficult job Cameron has (and I didn't vote for him

David_at_Home, what are you going on about. Everybody knows that these two are not real Conservatives, Bercow's politics are more similar to those Dr Evan Harris, otherwise know as 'Doctor Death' than his own Party and as for Robert Key, I think I am correct in saying that he sits on the Church of England’s General Synod and we wonder why the Anglican Church is in such utter disarray and has reach a point that is likely to see it spliting.

So David_at_Home do not blames our leader for this, he is after all a devoted family man and has been banging the drum for a return to good old fashion values and support for the family that have served this country well in the past and will I hope do so in the future.

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I never had any sex education. I managed to pick it up as I went along!!

I was lucky not to pick up anything !

I'm interested to know what "appropriate" sex education is. If they're talking about what is now called 'citizenship', in other words people come in different shapes, sizes and colours, then fair enough. If it is about how some people have two mums or two dads, fair enough. But I struggle to believe anything that would be described as sex education would be appropriate for a 5 year old.

However, without detail on what they mean by personal, social and health education the letter is meaningless.

Good old Bercow, we can always count on him to remind us all of how left-wing the Tories really are. I daresay several other MPs would support this disgusting Marxoid plan.

Has there actually been any confirmation of what this 'appropriate' education would involve? Its easy to jump on the suggestion but without the details of exactly what would be taught when it is difficult to judge it.

You don't need much political nous to realise that proposing compulsory sex education for 5 year olds would be a BAD IDEA. 10 / 11, maybe. I'm not sure what Bercow et al are actually proposing but speaking as a father of 3 girls under five I'd fight to my last breath to stop anyone trying to teach my children about sex at such a young age.

Were the teenage pregnancy, STI, etc, rates higher in my 1950s schooldays, when we didn't have sex education (other than ominous VD posters in public lavatories)?

No Ken I don't think they were - you see there was something called shame then!

...From a neighbouring shrubbery emerged a nurse, leading a small boy, who howled as he went. An anxious-looking girl trotted at her heels.
"What's the matter?" asked the Director.
The nurse shrugged her shoulders. "Nothing much," she answered. "It's just that this little boy seems rather reluctant to join in the ordinary erotic play."

- Brave New World.

Early conditioning.

Really, really bad idea. Shocked that any Conservative would support this.


My own 5 year old recently asked me probing questions about the facts of life. No idea what set it off but if it had come up incidentally at school I'd have no problem. Next week it'll probably be an equally gripping subject to him, such as why birds fly and we can't. I'd no more make teaching the former statutory as the latter. So much is now lobbied for as being statutory that you'd need 24 hours a day to fit it all in.

Brilliant move by the editor to get lots of posts on a slow news day at the end of August, though. I can feel the steam rising without even reading the comments. I take my hat off to you, but now I'm going to get on with something more important.

The more "sex education" there is the worse behaviour tends to become. The whole New Left 1960's idea (although actually goes back much further) of government "sex education" is misquided (to put it mildly).

As for sex education for five years olds - even some secular progressive people would draw the line before spending the money of the taxpayers on this revolting propaganda aimed at destroying childhood.

However, I am reminded of one of the shameful events of my own life.

At an F.C.S. conference in Scarborough I met two men standing for election for President of the organization.

One of these people struck me as a decent sort, the other as shifty, dishonest and rotten to the core.

The person that I had such a bad impression of was John Bercow.

But I was told that, as a libertarian, I should vote for Mr Bercow as he was "sound".

And I did vote for Mr Bercow - and have been ashamed of how I voted ever since.

Deborah said:

Compare Passing Leftie's comments:
"All sex education teaches abstinence as the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs."
with those from Andy, a school teacher (10.19):
"In my view the way we teach sex ed is part of the problem. many teenagers must come away from the pshe lessons believing that they are out of line by not having sex.".
As a mother of two teenage daughters, and an ex-school governor who is familiar with what is taught in our schools, I am firmly with Andy.

Passing Leftie is talking out of his bottom.

His or her bottom, please.

Who is the one quoting second-hand anecdotes?

If they are teaching this, they are going against the national curriculum, and as a govenor, you should take personal repsonsibilty for this grievous error.

The national curriculum teaches Sex and Relationship Education. Let's look at some quotes shall we?

" As part of sex and relationship education, pupils should be taught about the nature and importance of marriage for family life and bringing up children. But the Government recognises ... that there
are strong and mutually supportive relationships outside marriage. Therefore
pupils should learn the significance of marriage and stable relationships as key
building blocks of community and society. Care needs to be taken to ensure that
there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances."

"Secondary pupils should learn to understand human sexuality, learn the reasons for delaying sexual activity and the benefits to be gained from such delay, and learn about obtaining appropriate advice on sexual health."

"Effective sex and relationship education does not encourage early sexual

And for you, you buck passer, "The role of a school’s governing body and head teacher in the determination of a school’s policy is crucial. The governing body, in consultation with parents, will be able to develop policies which reflect the parents’ wishes and the community they serve."

Take a look. You might learn something:


Re my "PERSONAL ABUSE OVERWRITTEN" @ 15.59, I suppose comparing JB with a 5 year old was a bit near the knuckle.

Presumably calling him "Shifty, dishonest and rotten to the core" (Paul Marks @ 16.54) comes within the editor's interpretation of the Reagan doctrine of "never speaking ill of a fellow conservative"! My phaseology obviously just lacked Paul's subtlety.

When I saw the link on CH home page, “Two Tory MPs join call for "appropriate" sex education for five year-olds” I thought, “John Bercow is bound to be one of them”. Another recent example from Bercow is, I think I heard he wants to put down an amendment to the HFE Bill to outlaw telling women who ‘find themselves pregnant’ of alternatives to abortion.

The other MP turns out to be Robert Key, another social liberal who should be in the Lib Dems.

These two continue to support the no-restraints liberalism that has contributed so much to the moral and social chaos we see today, while David Cameron is seeking to do something to support traditional marriage as the best context to bring up children in order to rebuild society where it is broken. At least David Cameron, who doesn’t hesitate to take action against MPs and candidate who express racist views, could distance himself from Bercow and Key. Surely some action should be taken? Can’t their local associations do something?

Anyway, the answer to high teenage pregnancies, abortion rates and STDs etc can’t be ‘sex education’. I thought this was designed to encourage teenage sex by saying how it can be had ‘safely’ and can believe David_at_Home (1032) when he says this ‘sex education’ would be brainwashing about the how youngsters should regard alternative lifestyles, teenage single mums, two "daddies"….and the word marriage will not be mentioned. I thought abstinence programmes work best.

passing leftie,
Don't try and lecture me on taking responsibility when all you can do is quote from a govt website.
You need to go back and re-read all the weasel words on that website and then look at the recommended teaching resources that schools have to choose between. Try talking to a teacher or two about the weightings they are expected to apply to the different parts of that guidance you put so much blind faith in.
No prizes for guessing that the teaching materials and detailed guidance contains an awful lot on understanding human sexuality and where to get advice on sexual health and s*d all about the benefits to be gained from delaying sexual activity.

Get some real experience of sex education in schools and then maybe you'll be able to produce more than just hot air.

As a parent with 3 children of 8, 10 and 13, 2 daughters and a son, we have on many occassions had the' where did I come from' conversation that many parents will be familiar with. They have been satisfied with our answers until the next time they want to ask about it. These have provided numerous humerous comments from our youngest children, which are probably best not repeated on here.

I mentioned this to my wife and she and I both agree that the major reason why there is such a high level of teenage pregancy in the UK, is that young girls who have babies, generally have an absent father, they are given every support and prop from the state and taxpayer to help them, from housing to benefits, etc etc.

The father is not in any serious way held to account, often the mother doesnot know who he is; he may be too immature himself to be father, or an addict of some kind or other. The state system favours single parent-hood and thus there is no incentive for a 2 parent family to be established. For instance if the benefits system was changed and priority was given to a couple over a single parent, I'm sure that you would see a dramatic change in behaviour.

There is definitely a cultural 'rite of passge' amongst children that they should all be having sex and that if they aren;t then they are ' missing out' there is tremendous peer pressure on girls in particular.

Lastly, there are a growing army of children who have been brought up and given their moral compass, as part of break-down britain. Fact is that family relationships are increasingly complicated, that many children even in economically advantageous areas have a lack of role models and lack personal confidence and identity.

There are many instances where young children, who have been brought up under this moral maze, have said that they thought that if they have a child, then perhaps they would have a family they would feel a part of, or they feel their parents will come together to support them. The damage caused by the casualistion of society and family relationships has caused tremendous damage to society and will take generations to fix, but fix it we need to, of all our sakes and the sakes of generations to come.

Sex education lessons for five year olds is most definitely NOT the way to address this

Has anyone told Nadine? I will give it a couple of days before her letter is in the Telegraph showing them both up to be the Leftie crackpots they are.

Has anyone actually read what they put their names to? Please see Iain Dales blog for a run down. ConHome has done itself a disservice with what can only be considered shoddy echoing of the Telegraph's article.

Here is an extract of the letter.

''...provision of good sex and relationship education is still very patchy, with too many young girls reaching their first period without knowing what is happening to their body. International evidence suggests that high-quality sex and relationship education that puts sex in its proper context, that starts early enough to make a difference and that gives youngsters the confidence and ability to make well informed decisions helps young people delay their first sexual experience and leads to lower teenage pregnancy levels...''

I'd put my name to that too.

"Does that include Japan?"

Japan starts sex ed at about 11yrs. They're having a lot of problems with exploding std and aids rates though, and there's a growing consensus they need to change the whole setup pretty significantly.

Not that it's terribly relevant, given the massive cultural differences with the West.

I too read Iain Dales reprint of the article before I came onto CH. Tim, this is shoddy headline writing, which gave totally the wrong impression. I would have signed up to the original letter - n ot to your over the top and inaccurate headline. As you know, I have been a health visitor for most of my working life. The Daily Tel is no better, b ut you really should have read the letter before you subedited.

I would agree with Afleitch. After reading Iain's piece I hope whoever put this story up would come back and explain themselves. If Iain is right it would certainly not be Conhome's finest hour.


Are you going to apologise for mis-representing the two Tory MPs?
They didn't mention 5 year olds did they?
Check out Iain Dale's blog and feel ashamed.

What a crazy idea. Let kids be kids for a while. There is enough pressure on them to grow up in later years.

Once again, Deborah, you are completely wrong. There are plenty of curriculum-approved resources which follow this excellent government guidance. Just a single example after two minutes looking:

Your inability to discover suitable resources suggests to me you should reconsider your responsbility to the young people who are relying on you and your fellow governors to determine Sex and Relationship Education.

But, I suspect you'd rather just have a lovely and self-indulgent moral panic.

I think Con Home and the DT’s headlines were misleading and provocative (See Iain Dale) and that given that puberty starts earlier sex education should be given in the later years of Primary School - although not at 4 (which I don't think the letter suggested).

Even 40 years ago when I was at PS, some girls started their periods at 10/11 - I remember one girl crying as she did not know what was happening to her when she started bleeding in class.

However I believe that the horrendous incidences of Teenage pregnancy and SIDs in the UK is not primarily down to the delivery of Sex Education.

I did not receive any formal Sex Education until I was 14 in the mid seventies. We were shown line diagrams and given a brief description of the act. The girls got a film about periods (“it a good thing to have a bath...”). That was it. No contraceptive advice. Did not tell us anything we did not already know.

Only one girl got pregnant before 16 in my year group - she was desperate to get married and wanted to get pregnant - she had a shotgun wedding on her 16th birthday. And my school was an inner city Comprehensive in Glasgow. The reason why there was only one pre-16 conception - peer pressure. Girls who 'did it' were labelled 'slags' by the other girls. So my classmates limited themselves to 'snogging' and 'groping' only, or got on with other things. Indeed in teenage society it was far more acceptable for girls not to have a boyfriend then (I was 18 when I first had a boyfriend – no sex – only kisses and holding hands – lovely sweet memories looking back).

I was a Councillor on a Working Party looking at Teenage Pregnancy a few years ago and did a lot of my own research as well as interviewing medical and social work professionals and teenagers form local schools (including teenage mums).

Some observations arising out of this work:

With regard to other European countries – it is not necessarily the case that extensive Sex Education is given, even for much quoted Holland it is down to the individual school so there is a lot of variation in delivery. The bottom line is that society at all ages in most European countries disapproves of too early sex and the welfare system reinforces this. If you get pregnant you have to live off/and with your parents, or in a hostel. Whilst not considered immoral if you get pregnant as a teenager you are considered stupid and irresponsible. So society is ‘judgemental’ although in a different way to 50 years ago.

Statistics show that teenagers are highly incompetent at using contraception - so with the ‘best’ Sex Education in the world there will be high failure rates. For example modern low dose contraceptive pills need to be taken about the same time every day. Also if you vomit or have diarrhoea the hormones may not be absorbed and you will have to take alternative contraceptives or abstain. So if you take your pill at 7.30 am on a school day – you have to take it at the same time at the weekends and the holidays. Well teenagers are not known for time keeping or responsibility and certainly not when they have had a few Bacardi Breezers (too much of which will also of cause vomiting and diarrhoea).

Teenagers take risks and live for today – just look at car insurance premiums for young people. “It won’t happen to me.” It is in their nature, however it is not an ideal mindset to embrace safe contraceptive usage.

What was especially interesting was talking to young people themselves (ages 13 to 18) who made the following points:

Girls do get themselves pregnant to get a ‘Council’ house and moreover in some communities it is the accepted norm – an appropriate career move if you like (the professionals on the committee - who always said this was not the case - were horrified when the young people said this!)

They were desperate for Sex Education that would bring feelings and emotions into the mix not just the mechanics of sex/contraception. In particular a young man of about 17 was in tears when he explained the trauma experienced by his female ‘friend’ when she had an abortion. (His girlfriend? We did not press the point as he was so clearly distressed).

Both sexes felt a pressure to ‘do it’ and would welcome being taught how to ‘say no’. They all regretted their first encounters and wished they had waited.

They felt that society was over sexualised. (See the Orangina advert – shown after 9.00pm but I am sure watched by 1,000s of 9 & 10 year olds).

They were unaware of the risk of SIDs and the long term consequences - especially female infertility. They thought that even if they did become infertile, IVF etc would sort things out quickly. They were unaware of the high failure rate of infertility treatments as well as the trauma involved in the process.

They felt that excess alcohol - loosening their inhibitions and also resulting in poor contraceptive application - was a major factor.

They felt that they could not talk to their parents about these issues.

So there is no quick fix answer – we need look at our welfare and social housing policies; broaden Sex Education to take in the long term emotional and physical consequences of too early and promiscuous sex - especially abortion and SIDs; deal with teenage alcohol abuse; but most importantly also change our over sexualised culture and create a healthier attitude.

Even re-establishing family Sunday Lunches round a dinner table might be a good start so these issues can be discussed in a natural way. (Our teenagers are less likely to eat at table with their parents then any others in Europe).

And of course parents themselves need to set an example. A friend of ours was upset when his 15 year old daughter started sleeping around. It had not occurred to him that his many indiscreet affairs including a recent one with a 16 year old girl did not send out the right message to his children!

Parents also need to be be less indulgent materially to their children and teach them self-discipline and the importance of 'delayed gratification'. This will give teenagers the emotional and intellectual tools to say no to tempting but harmful experiences - be they alcohol, sex or driving too fast or drugs.

If the Conservative Party decide to give 5 year old sex education, I will not vote Conservative.!! These two politicians should not be members of the Tory Party. I do not agree at all to giving sex education to young people under the age of 12 anyway and I still believe a "little knowledge is a dangerous thing" youngsters that have been given
so called sex education are eager and inquisitve to give it a try!! hence more young people having sex and babies at such a
young age, they want to experiment, "lets have a go" sort of syndrome.Poor five year olds, they are still playing innocently with their dolls and being children. I was never given sex education and I certainly was not promiscious, I was too scared to be,because I thought boy friends would "go off me"if they thought I was "easy"and would not respect me and also my parents would have been so upset.Of course now instead of wonderful kissing on a first or second date they prefer to go the "whole hog" and practice sex that they have had in sex education classes.!! It is almost like giving them pornographic literature! I certainly am very worried about John Bercow and Robert Key, they sound like left wing weirdos!! and David Cameron should give them the heve ho from the party!!!I am so very very upset about this, it is the one thing that I believe has caused so many social problems in this country.NO MORE SEX EDUCATION TO YOUNG CHILDREN, YES THEY ARE CHILDREN, RESPECT THEM AS CHILDREN

Dale is right, the headline is very misleading.

Saying that other media organisations have used similarly misleading headlines is not exactly a great defence.

Nothing in the letter says there should be sex education for 5 year olds.

No, passing leftie. As usual your lack of attention to detail lets you down and your insults fly wide of the mark.

You really ought to try harder.

I'd agree 5 is probably too young, however sometimes we seem as a country to get in to an absurd contradiction on this issue both condemning the high level of teenage pregnancies and giving sex education to people at a young age. To condemn both he consequences of poor sex education and the need for sex education in the first place can not be a situation that either makes sense or leads to any improvement.

Of course it isn't just about avoiding unwanted pregnancies but also about tackling the high level of STD's among young people. Yes there will always be a debate about when is an appropriate age to begin sex education but beginning it after young people have become sexually active would be useless. So there is much to be said for introducing sex education at a young age in my view.

'ConHome has done itself a disservice with what can only be considered shoddy echoing of the Telegraph's article.'

Posted by: Afleitch

The fact that this piece was based on Telegraph, which seems to be running some sort of guerilla war against the party, should have set alarm bells ringing.

If things are slow, maybe the Ed could just be honest and directly C&P an article from a paper for us to discuss.

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