Schools in England will be taking a more social approach when it comes to sex education, providing information to their students about consent, sexting, periods, and more. This regulation will be implemented nationwide by 2020.
BBC News reports that English citizens have been campaigning for better sex education in schools, one that goes beyond contraceptives and the ways in which the reproductive system works. Menstruation has also been brought up a lot, with a petition of over 100,000 signatures demanding schools to teach kids about periods in order to de-stigmatize them. The new rules from the Department of Education also plan on educating students about online safety, the risk of sharing nude images, and the impact of consuming explicit material.
Dazed reports that England’s sex education curriculum hasn’t been updated for the past 20 years. “There’s a lot to catch up on,” says Education secretary Damian Hinds. “Although sex education is only mandatory to teach at secondary, it must be grounded in a firm understanding and valuing of positive relationships, and respect for others, from primary age.”
The U.S. is also in need of a sex ed upgrade. A study from 2016 says that fewer teens are receiving important and timely information about different sex education topics. “Between the two survey periods, the proportion of teens who reported receiving formal education about birth control decreased from 70% to 60% among females and from 61% to 55% among males. Overall, in 2011–2013, 43% of adolescent females and 57% of adolescent males did not receive information about birth control before they had sex for the first time,” reports the study.
These numbers are worse for kids who identify as LGBT, with a 2015 survey reporting that only 12 percent of them received some sort of same-sex education lessons.