Sex education: Menstrual health to be taught in school by 2020

A tampon and a sanitary padIt will be compulsory to teach about periods at schools in England by 2020, which endometriosis sufferer Alice Smith calls “massive”.

The 23-year-old was diagnosed with the chronic condition at 14 and has been campaigning for menstrual health to be on the school curriculum.

Alice says the new guidelines mean girls will know “from a much younger age what is normal” and what isn’t when it comes to their periods.

Consent is also to be taught at school.

And children will learn about domestic violence, relationships and staying safe online.

“My experience at school would be very different now,” Alice says.

Endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women in the UK, is where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows elsewhere in a woman’s body.

It causes chronic pain, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, and can lead to infertility.

However, leading doctors have previously recommended that primary school children are taught about LGBT issues.

Earlier this year, the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) urged minister go further in their guidance on sex and relationship classes, which will become compulsory from 2020.

Draft Government recommendations say schools are free to determine how they address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, ensuring teaching is “sensitive and age-appropriate”.

The Royal College said: “There needs to be a clear statement that LGBT people and relationships are part of teaching about healthy relationships in primary school. This can be demonstrated in relation to families – but also it is helpful to children to learn the meaning of terms such as lesbian, gay and bisexual”.

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The participants underwent a test known as the Stretched Penile Length (SPL), which is used to approximate the length of the organ when it is erect. A man’s age, weight and race were also taken into account by the team.