Education For Choice has been trying to get hold of teachers in schools across England to find out what they're teaching about abortion, how and what outside visiting speakers they're using to deliver it. Teachers - being busy, seeing PSHE as a low priority, fearing that we are going to publish their good practice and get Daily Mailed, or tell them off for their bad practice - have been poor respondents.
That's why we're asking people to let us know what they can about what's being taught in UK schools.
Here are some quotes left on our A Word blog about people's experiences of how school handles the topic. I don't think these experiences are out of the ordinary:
Like my sons 'community' school which is run by a headmistress and head of governers who both attend the same local church and give voice to every fundamentalist roadshow and preacher that passes by. My objection is people like this who use their own private personally held beliefs to inform school policy. The no opt out is really the only way you will get anything like this past people in control who have a religious axe to grind.
Comment on 'A Word' Blog
I finished secondary school a couple of years ago. Quite a lot of girls were pregnant whilst at school, and everyone knew at least one person who had an abortion, so they knew the 'reality'. We never had people come in to the school to talk to us about abortion and it didn't come up until year 11. That was only because we needed to know religious views on abortion for our RE exam! It was nothing to do with giving us information that may affect us in life - and I think this is one of the issues - schools have become focused on exams and not the emotional/other sides of life.
Comment on 'A Word' blog
Everyone out there has an experience of abortion education we want to hear about. It will probably fall into about five broad categories:
- We were taught nothing about pregnancy decision-making and abortion
- We were only taught about it in RE and in terms of different religious perspectives, but with no practical content about relationships, decision-making, contraception etc
- We were taught about it in RE/PSHE by having outside speakers come in from anti-abortion organisations, giving us questionable information/complete misinformation and/or showing us gory images and film footage
- We were taught about it in a debate style where we had a speaker from 'one side' and then from the 'other side' to talk about the moral issues
- We were taught about it by our SRE/PSHE teacher and we looked at it in the context of relationships, decision-making, risk taking, contraception
You could send us your experiences as a student, teacher or parent about what is happening in your/your child's school.
If you are happy to let us know your school's name and borough that would be great. Just so we know that all our feedback isn't from the same school!
This kind of feedback however anecdotal is important - especially in the absence of a more comprehensive study of what's happening out there.
It would be great if you could send this email out far and wide to get as many responses as possible
If you want your comment to be anonymous you could leave it as a comment on this blog. If you are happy for us to be in touch or want your feedback to be less public please email us with your story