Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Placing Blame Where Blame Is Due

A couple of weeks ago, the papers here were all reporting on Julie Atkins and her three daughters, Jemma, Jade, and Natasha. The three sisters all became pregnant within three months of one another. The problem was that they were aged 12, 14, and 16 at the time.

What did Julie have to say about all this?

‘I blame the schools. Sex education for young girls should be better.’

Well of course. We must have been doing other, less important things…like teaching maths or English.

Actually, evidence from the Office of National Statistics suggests that ‘when there was open discussion of sex in the home, young people were more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners, and use contraceptives when they do have sex.’

Of course, we can always say that schools should do more. But we can also say that, no matter what we do in schools, we still have the kids for less than seven hours a day, about 180 days each year…which is less than 15% of the year. Surely, if teachers here have to fit maths, science, English, history, geography, religious education, music, art, and PE into that 15%, parents could find a bit of time in their 85% to talk about sex.


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