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Condoms on cucumbers and Section 28: How LGBTQ+ education still needs to improve in schools

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metro.co.uk

primary school teacher of more than 15 years, Evie defines herself as lesbian and queer, and advocates for comprehensive LGBTQ+ education in her school and online.She says she remembers ‘very clearly’ having a sex education lesson where she practised putting condoms on cucumbers.‘I sat there thinking, “I am never going to need this, I’m never going to do this, I don’t like this,”‘ she adds.Although Evie’s experience dates back to more than 20 years ago when Section 28 was still in place in the UK – legislation which prevented the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools – many pupils still think there is much to be desired where their education about sex and relationships is concerned today.Only one third of teenagers think they have had good education on sex and relationshipsA survey of 1,002 young people aged 16 to 17 in England, carried out by Censuswide at the end of last year and commissioned by the Sex Education Forum, found only just over one third (35%) of young people rated the quality of their relationships and sex education (RSE) lessons as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Researchers noted this was down 6 percentage points on the same rating in 2019.More than one in five (22%) rated the quality of RSE as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ – an increase of 4 percentage points since 2019.

A similar study of more than 2,000 teenagers aged 14 to 17 in the UK, called ‘Digital Romance’ and published by sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook in 2017, found just 14% of LGBTQ+ young people surveyed reported a good experience of RSE.Some 28% of LGBTQ+ teenagers in this study judged their education on positive and equal relationships to be ‘not great’, in comparison to only 15% of straight young people asked.

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