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Education in the Media: Monday 30 July 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: GCSE, Sex and Relationship Education

Today’s Education in the media blog focuses on the key findings from the latest Barnardo’s report, as well as government investment into music and arts education.

Barnardo’s Report

Today, Monday 30 July, children’s charity Barnardo’s released a report into the effect of social media on children. This story was covered by The Mail and The Telegraph.

The key finding from the report was that children as young as five years-old are copying ‘harmful sexual behaviour’ that they have learnt from content on social media platforms.

As part of our recent update to relationships and sex education, we announced that the curriculum will counter-act issues in online safety as well as teach about respect and personal boundaries at primary school. The guidance – which was last updated in 2000 – will become compulsory in all schools across the country from September 2020, and will put in place the building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

I want to make sure that our children are able to grow up to become happy and well-rounded individuals who know how to deal with the challenges of the modern world. Part of this is making sure they are informed about how to keep themselves safe and healthy and have good relationships with others.

Many of today’s problems did not exist when we last gave schools guidance on how to teach Relationships and Sex Education 18 years ago. The action we’re taking is important to help support teachers and schools design a curriculum that will enrich their pupils in an age appropriate way.

Good physical and mental health is also at the heart of ensuring young people are ready for the adult world. By making health education compulsory we are giving young people the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school.

Music and Arts Education

On Saturday 28 July, The Telegraph published a piece which focused on the decreasing number of children taking GCSE arts subjects.

GCSE statistics do not tell the whole story. Many students continue to enjoy taking part in the arts, in school and out, by singing in choirs, playing in orchestras and bands, and acting in school plays.

Pupils may also take part in a range of out-of-school activities funded by DfE, such as the music education hubs, Sorrell Foundation's National Art and Design Saturday Clubs or National Youth Music Organisations.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

High quality arts subjects are an important part of every child’s education and the proportion of pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE has remained largely stable since 2010.

Music remains a compulsory subject from age 5 to 14 and we are investing nearly £500 million up to 2020 in a range of music and arts education programmes designed to improve arts provision for all children. This includes 120 music education hubs set up across the country to give every child the opportunity to play an instrument.

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