Sex Education: Lessons In How To Approach PSHE

Sex Education blog post

Recently, Season 3 of hit Netflix show Sex Education was released to considerable acclaim from critics and viewers. The reason for this is obvious: it deals with relevant issues that a lot of us missed out on during our formative years in education.

In all honesty, many of the issues dealt with relate to things that I had never been taught in school. Take for instance the HIV advice scene in Episode 4; a moment that provides clarity and calm to ease potential anxieties over HIV that are always made hysterical by the media. It begs the question; why are a lot of us only just finding out about HIV prevention drugs like PrEP now? As show writer Alix Fox states, HIV is ‘no longer a death sentence’ - we should celebrate and embrace that within our curriculum rather than pander to the media scaremongering. This is exactly what Sex Education does and is why the show is so universally popular.

In Defence of Reading

In Defence of Reading Blog Post

I might be a little biased in my assertion that reading is the best way to spend one’s time as an English Literature graduate, but it rings truer with every passing book.

We are told time and time again to move away from the screen and toward the book, but it would be fair to say the rise of the Kindle has certainly blurred that distinction somewhat. If we’re reading from a Kindle, are we moving away from the screen, or do we not count the Kindle as a screen in the conventional sense?

International Walk to School Month

International Walk to School Month Blog post

Though you may not have been aware, October is National Walk to School Month. In light of this, we ask if it’s time we ditch the car and go for the more modest method of getting to and from school.

With lives becoming busier and busier, it can be difficult to find time beyond the daily conveniences of simply getting in the car and driving to school in around ten minutes. But walking can do our physical and mental health a world of good. Of course it may not be practical for some. As well as this, there may come days of miserable weather in which the car is definitely the only viable method, especially over a longer distance.

The Importance of Black History Month

Black History Month blog

Celebrating people of African and Caribbean backgrounds is a big part of Black History Month, a celebration that is usually commemorated in the month of October in Europe. Following the increased attention of movements such as Black Lives Matter sparked by the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become quite clear that black people’s value and contribution to society is merely overlooked or altered by the media.

Black History Month dates all the way back to the 1920s, motivated by historian Carter G. Woodson, who ambitiously wanted to challenge assumptions at the time whilst preserving African-American history in the US. The UK adapted Black History Month a long time after in the 80s, which focused more on challenging racism and educating the Black community and others about aspects of British history that were not taught in schools.

Grief: Learning from Our Pets

Learning From Our Pets blog post

When it comes to the tricky subject of death, pets are able to teach us so much. Though we may not remember that first loss all too fondly, it shapes us in so many ways.

To give an example, I lost my pet goldfish Sidney at the age of eight. Initially, Sidney had been in a tank of his own with my brother’s new fish, but we had chosen to move both of them to the bigger tank with some of the other fish. Unfortunately, he had been unable to adapt and passed away the next day.

When my brother’s fish survived and mine didn’t, I felt it was very unfair. My brain had a vague understanding of death, but it couldn’t make sense of the fact that my fish had to be the unlucky one. Though Sidney wasn’t the first pet that I had lost, his loss was the first that - in hindsight - helped me to understand the five stages of the grieving process.

Respecting Nature

Respecting Nature blog image

In one of our most recent storybooks, ‘Rainbow’s Day Out’, we look to focus on how young children can respect their surroundings, particularly the natural world.

During the story, Rainbow goes to the countryside with their grandparents. As they go through the park, they discover all kinds of insects and plants. Rainbow goes to pick a flower, at which point their grandad explains the importance of leaving nature as we find it. He goes on to explain the importance of respecting wildlife. Emphasising that entities like plants and insects are not as insignificant as they may appear on the surface is a crucial, perhaps underappreciated part of positive child development.

Men's Mental Health: Why It's Okay to be Sad

Mental Health blog post

We are told all the time that our mental health is of paramount importance, and of course it absolutely is. The question is: are we doing enough to make this a world in which we can live and thrive in rather than merely exist?

The statistics in the UK make for grim reading and suggest that we are far from achieving anything close to this. According to the Mental Health Foundation, males are most at risk, with three times as many men committing suicide as women. Men are also much less likely to seek therapy or talk about their problems. The traditional British notion of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ in the face of adversity that stretches back to World War II is far more toxic than many of us may realize.

With a year of lockdowns behind us, it’s inevitable that things will feel significantly worse in the wake of that. As life begins to return to normal, however, we have the opportunity to build a world in which men do not have to adhere to the ‘strong, dominant breadwinner’ stereotype. Equally, women should not always have to adhere to the ‘stay-at-home mother’ stereotype that places so much unnecessary pressure on young girls. The world has changed so drastically in recent decades, so changing with it is crucial.

Watching The News With Children

Watching The News With Children Blog Post

In one of our new storybooks, ‘Purple Watches the News’, we look at ways in which we can help children process what they see on the news. The world may seem all doom and gloom at times, but there are positives that we can hone in on and show that, above all, the world is a beautiful place.

At the start of the story, Purple becomes very distressed at hearing the news, as it doesn't seem very positive. The news goes on to talk about a local car accident, at which point Purple begins to cry. She also states that she never wants to get into a car again.

It’s entirely natural and logical for a child to think that something is dangerous when only the negative aspects are shown. It would be impractical and pointless to show the cars that have driven safely to their destinations, so it’s important to stress that traumatic events like car accidents (for one example) are very infrequent, even if the news makes it seem otherwise.

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