- Half of teachers said they lack confidence to teach compulsory RE/RSE lessons just 16 months before the national roll-out
- Importance of new curriculum in safeguarding children is backed by majority of headteachers as it was last updated over a generation ago before social media, sexting and online porn
- NSPCC and NEU urgently calls on the Government to deliver face-to-face training, timetabled lessons and more funding for schools to support teachers
Almost half of teachers said they do not feel confident about teaching the new compulsory relationships and sex education lessons in schools, a new survey has revealed.
Children’s charity the NSPCC and the National Education Union (NEU) are now calling on the Government to urgently step up its support and training for schools and teachers to help them deliver the vital lessons.
The findings from a joint NEU and NSPCC survey of 2,175 school leaders and teachers come just 16 months before lessons are due to be rolled out in September 2020 as a mandatory part of the curriculum in England.
This new curriculum has the potential to ensure all children learn how to develop positive relationships, recognise abusive or controlling behaviour and know where to seek help. Yet over a quarter of teachers said that their school would not be ready to deliver it.
Teachers in the survey backed the importance of the new lessons, with three quarters of head teachers agreeing that the rollout was crucial for creating a culture of safeguarding in the school. But competing workloads, the cost of training, and difficulty in finding high quality training were identified by teachers as the biggest barriers. Three quarters of teachers (78%) said face-to-face training would boost their confidence to deliver high quality RSE, and three quarters (74%) said that more funding for staff training would ensure schools were ready.
The survey also highlighted a need to help teachers with lessons on specific subjects in secondary schools:
- 61% of teachers said they do not feel confident about teaching the impact of pornography
- 54% of teachers were not confident about teaching lessons on female genital mutilation (FGM)
- Only 10% of respondents felt ‘very confident’ about teaching either of these topics.
However, the majority of primary school teachers said they were confident about teaching the concept of boundaries and how stereotypes can cause harm, and secondary school teachers felt confident delivering lessons about sexual consent, sexting and grooming.