On 17th January, the highly anticipated, renewed season of Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’ dropped with a second bout of success amongst critics and viewers alike. The show is rightly lauded for its refreshing honesty and ability to educate and raise awareness to a slew of different topics regarding sex and relationships in an approachable and often-times hilarious way. Even more commendable, is its effortless inclusivity and diversity. Laurie Nunn’s tv series, whilst by no means flawless, does what so few teen-oriented shows do, in that it champions people from different backgrounds and places in the spectrum of sexuality.

This leads me to questioning why our own school education does not take inspiration from Gillian Anderson’s ‘Jean’ and instead continues to stifle the vital conversations from taking place. I find it rather shocking how insubstantial our education on relationships is at school, where my peers and I have never once been informed about consent, despite how necessary it is to speak about such a ‘taboo’ in today’s climate. It is, of course, important to highlight progress made by the government. Their long over-due announcement in April 2019 to reform Relationships and Sex Education in England is a good thing. These changes are to be put into place in September of this year, however it is arguable how much they will do – as whilst it is compulsory for primary school children to be informed about the extensive variety in how families look and secondary school children to learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, the extent to which teachers need to comply to these reformations is uncertain.

It would, however, be wrong to touch on this subject without mentioning that whilst relationship education is non-negotiable for all, parents are in their right to withdraw their child from any sex education at any time in their school career - so as to be sensitive to different faiths' stances on sexual education. The charity Stonewall has made excellent strives in bridging the healthy relationship between faith schools and relationship education for young people for more than 600 schools across the UK. This is monumental considering Stonewall was established in retaliation to Section 28: legislation that forbade the conversation of same-sex relationships in school.

As advancements are gradually being made by the government, there are still many things we can do to improve education for young people so that the younger generation grows up more tolerant, respectful and safe. There is, for example, very little knowledge instilled by the education system into contraceptive methods other than the barrier method which excludes those not in relationships with men who still want to be safe. One can raise conversations with their matron, form tutor, head of pastoral or even head teacher to discuss the need to enlighten young people about the variety of options one can explore to prevent unwanted pregnancy, STIs and STDs being transmitted. Moreover, there needs to be more transparent and clear education on consent, sexual assault, LGBTQ+ relationships, gender identities, and sexuality (including asexuality) as well as a plethora of other topics that are too-often neglected in return for a clinical, half-an-hour look at the menstrual cycle.

It’s time our schools are revamped Moordale School style (but perhaps without the John Hughes-esque buildings and soundtrack) and started to respectfully acknowledge the brilliant diversity of our nation and educate young people in an inclusive and positive way about issues which will affect them all.

Amala Sangha