I was sitting with some esteemed colleagues of mine during one of our rare breaks. In our new job, we don't get enough breaks, and if you have an hour for lunch you don't get any breaks in the afternoon. You have to forefeit 15 minutes of luncheoning time if you want any hope of afternoon coffee. There also isn't any coffee, but that's beside the point.
Anyway, we started discussing HIV - as you do. We were talking about the relative merits of not having AIDS even if you do have HIV, and how you can get it. I didn't mention that I'd found most of the stuff out from Green Arrow, but we did eventually get around to the subject of sex education and our embarrassed year 9 teachers. (Or in my case, our super-smooth, slightly suspicious year 9 teacher who finished a lesson with, "sex is wonderful.")
I had sex education three times - once in year 5 (but I was sick that day so I missed the video), once in year 7 and once in year 9 - which was all about HIV and very little to do with sex at all. As I was saying to my friends, year 5 is probably too late to start sex education. It's a taboo thing that's dirty until you hit 11 and is then automatically something you're not getting and that's unfair. My suggestion was year 3, in which you're eight years old, precocious and unshockable. You see, I've known about sex since the age of two; ergo, the concept was nothing new to me. I was still a little weirded out by why anyone would want to do it, until the age of about 11, but at least I knew.
Kids who didn't know were totally confused and sickened and used sex as an insult. And the one kid who found out about sex in year 7 was so fucked up by it that his approach to the girls in my class was totally unacceptable.
And that's why you're too old. Letting year 3 kids know about sex - not exactly throwing it in your face, but developing some learning about love and relationships to begin with, and building upon that - would be a much better idea, because by the time they got around to having sex themselves, they'd know what to do, and be ready.
We have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, and continental Europe has better and earlier sex education. So there's a lesson to be learned from that.
My colleagues didn't agree with me, exactly. But I'm sticking to my guns about this, because - let's be fair - I know about sex and education. And I think it's a good idea, personally...