Survey says curriculum is ‘putting children at risk’

Research suggests only 10% of UK parents are ‘very confident’ their children are getting the best advice on topics such as sexting and revenge porn

Results from a new survey show that the national curriculum is putting children at risk, claims Big Life Project (BLP), a cloud-based platform offering personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons to teachers. According to its research, only 38 per cent of the students surveyed had relationships and sex education (RSE) on topics such as sexting, online relationships, revenge porn and dating apps.

Despite the increasing online risks of sexting and cyber-bullying, says BLP, the RSE curriculum guidance for teachers has not been updated for almost 20 years.

The majority of parents surveyed said they hadn’t considered RSE as part of their child’s education, citing core academic subjects as more of a focus.

BLP says its research “brings into question who carries responsibility for this increasingly important part of a child’s safety and education”. 63 per cent of surveyed teachers felt “too overwhelmed with their current workload” to teach RSE and other life skills, while 67 per cent stated that they didn’t receive enough support from the Department for Education to teach appropriate RSE.

Sheila Harji

61 per cent of teachers felt that parents needed to be more involved in RSE; 21 per cent said that parents do not take enough responsibility for this aspect of their child’s development.

66 per cent of students surveyed said they would find more focused lessons on relationships and sex useful. Most stated that they were more comfortable taking advice from their peers, with only 21 per cent trusting their mother and 5 per cent trusting their father for such advice.

Sheila Harji, CEO of Big Life Project, said: “In the current cyber environment it is vital that children receive an updated, appropriate level of education. Schools and parents must work closer together to ensure no child falls through the gap. With more unreliable sources of information available online, there has to be an open dialogue between students, teachers and parents to ensure they are ready to face the current challenges.”