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Trolling, sexting and importance of sleep to be added to school curriculum | UK News

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Children as young as four are going to be taught about relationships, keeping safe online and mental health as part of a curriculum shake-up.

Three new subjects are being added by the government – including relationships education for pupils of primary school age, relationships and sex education for secondary school students, and health education for children of all ages.

Issues covered in the lessons will include the link between physical and mental health, the importance of getting enough sleep and spending time outdoors, and the dangers of sexting.

Children will also receive classes about online safety – covering trolling, chatting to strangers, and what to do if they come across something that makes them uncomfortable.

Guidelines from the Department for Education add that pupils over the age of 11 will be taught about female genital mutilation (FGM), the risks associated with sharing private photos, and how the internet can promote an unhealthy view of sex and relationships.

Damian Hinds is urging schools to cut their use of plastic items such as food packaging and straws
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Damian Hinds says ‘there is a lot to catch up on’ since sex education was last updated

The changes are going to come into force in England from 2020, and it will be up to teachers to decide how frequently these classes are held.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Growing up and adolescence are hard enough, but the internet and social media add new pressures that just weren’t there even one generation ago.

“So many things about the way people interact have changed, and this new world, seamless between online and offline, can be difficult to navigate.

“Almost 20 years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on.”

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, described the new guidelines as a “welcome step forward in preparing children for adulthood”.

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