The state of sex-ed
- “We watched a video of a dog giving birth” – 2007
- “Mine started with a r*pe joke” – 2017
- “I literally have no recollection of it” – 2019
These are all real Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) experiences from across the years and across the country. You can find more in our online ‘What’s your Sex-Ed Story?’ collection.
The stories range from hilarious to shocking, from confusing to totally non-existent. They capture the wide-ranging spectrum of experiences people have when it comes to their own RSE.
Although some of them seem amusing, there is a darker side. A lack of learning around topics like consent, gender and red flags in unhealthy relationships means that young people are more likely to have sexual experiences that are detrimental to their sexual health – both physically and emotionally.
Statistics tells us that 86% of 16-24 year old women have been sexually harassed in public spaces (UN Women UK) and two-thirds of 18-24 year-old men feel pressured to display hyper-masculine behaviour (Future Men Survey).
And it is those who are already marginalised that are most affected. LGBTQIA+ people are 150 times more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population (IICSA) and transgender hate crimes recorded by police rose by 81% from 2018-2019 (BBC). Sexual health services continue to fail Black communities in the UK. Young people with disabilities are desexualised and their RSE deprioritised.
Everyone has the right to an RSE that reflects themselves and the society they live in, so that they have the best chance of happy, safe relationships.
Thankfully, RSE is finally compulsory in all UK secondary schools as of last year. And in 2019, the curriculum has had its first update since the year 2000. Although we consider there to be gaps in the guidance (no mention of pleasure whatsoever), things are moving forwards.
However, in our experience schools and teachers still feel unprepared to teach the subject. A BETT survey found that 39% of secondary school teachers do not feel prepared to cover the RSE requirements and 47% of teachers expressed a lack of confidence in their ability to deliver RSE.
We’re here to help.
Creativity and RSE go hand in hand
At Split Banana, we provide inclusive and relevant RSE, using creative teaching methods.
We know that students are far less awkward talking about topics when they’re busy making or doing something.
We’ve seen groups of young men openly discussing the stigma about crying in public whilst storyboarding together. We’ve seen students express delight at sketching bodies that we don’t usually see on our screens: fat bodies, queer bodies, disabled bodies. We also like to showcase art created by underrepresented people and communities, and relate to topics and events happening in popular culture. Getting creative with RSE means it’s more engaging and memorable.
How we can help your school
We have a skilled team of trainers and facilitators with diverse expertise. We can support your school in a variety of ways:
- We can deliver creative RSE workshops to groups of young people on all sorts of topics: sexual health, gender, porn, body image, consent, to name a few. We can run these workshops in-person, or remote.
- We can train educators in bespoke or public training days, equipping them with confidence and skills to design and deliver quality RSE themselves.
- We can provide 1:1 consultations with your RSE lead to review your existing RSE curriculum and provide expert advice on lesson plans, resources, whole-school approaches and much more.
Nice things people have said about us
- “We’re always impressed by the care and attention to detail SB put into their resources and prep for sessions, always centering content around the needs and context of their audience. And their sessions are so much fun!” – Body image workshops for Y9s
- “The facilitators are really knowledgeable and the focus on intersectionality and decanting normative perspectives was refreshing. Loved your openness in answering questions and sharing practice (including times you felt you’d made mistakes).” – Public 2-day RSE training
- “Not only was your advice incredibly insightful and useful but it was presented with a real understanding for the complexities faced by our staff and without judgement, making us feel really supported in our endeavors to improve!” – Consultation with Stretford High School
Get in touch
If you think that your school might benefit from some support, get in touch. We’re always happy to have a chat.