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  • Writer's pictureSophie Manning

How to modernise relationships and sex education (RSE)

How can teachers modernise their relationships and sex education (RSE) curriculum? Here Sophie Manning, co-author of the card game Sex Ed on the Cards, sets out 4 great ideas

We can safely assume a very different starting point for our relationships and sex education (RSE) learners today than 20 years ago. Thanks to the internet, the average year 10 student now comes to class with an already advanced subject knowledge and the expectation of multimedia delivery to fit their digital lives.

They may also show a zeal for social justice that previous generations did not, and it’s their right to have that enthusiasm met with modern, inclusive and holistic materials. According to this article in the BMJ, learners want a “‘sex-positive’ approach that aims for young people to enjoy their sexuality in a way that is safe, consensual and healthy”.

No longer can we stick to well-trodden ground: the “facts of life” and the risks associated with sex (unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections). Here’s how we can go further to serve today’s young people as they grow up:

1. Go back in time – online

Studying the past can unlock learners’ most astute insights about the present. Use clips from sex-education videos from times past or try a quiz about the 20th century’s milestone laws on sex and relationships.

The internet and modern technology have unlocked this avenue for us: online we can find resources on the history of RSE and sexual attitudes to kickstart the debates our young people sorely want and need to have.