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Marriage and Family

School asks 11 year old students to define pornography

22 May 2020

Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull has been forced to apologise after giving their year 7, 8 and 9 students homework that asked them to define hardcore pornography.

The Church of England school, named after the soon to retire Archbishop of York, sent the homework as a part of students' Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). It asked student to define a number of terms, including 'soft porn', 'hardcore porn', 'sexting' and 'transgender pornography'.

HullLive reported that a number of parents were shocked to find out what their children had been asked to do, with some only finding out after other parents raised the issue on Facebook.

The 25 year old brother of one of the students commented:

The majority of children nowadays will now go on the internet to help them with their homework and if you type that kind of thing on the internet, God knows what's going to pop up.
Leon Dagon Brother of one of students who was given the homework

The Principal of the Academy, Chay Bell, has apologised to parents saying:

"I am genuinely sorry if parents or students have unnecessarily researched any of these phrases and for any offence caused by this mistake. I have asked that no future PSHE materials contain any potentially sensitive content and will ensure all materials are fully age-appropriate."
ChayBell Principle - Archbishop Semantu Academy

CARE’s view

Education 28p329 9
From September, secondary schools in England will teach a new relationships and sex education subject

CARE's Family Policy Officer Jonathan Williams commented:

"Relationships and Sex Education is a sensitive subject that must be handled with care. This incident at Archbishop Sentamu Academy is a clear example what happens when schools do not engage with parents and overstep the mark in what any sensible adult would think is age appropriate RSE.

"It appears that the leaders at the school did not have any real idea what materials were being sent to pupils and have hastily removed them once it was highlighted how inappropriate and dangerous they are.

"It is naïve to expect that students will not use the internet in their homework. Asking them therefore to define such inappropriate terms is opening up the great risk that students will be exposed to harmful and damaging content.

"Ahead of the implementation of statutory RSE this September, schools must learn from this incident and ensure that they are cautious and sensitive in putting their RSE curriculum together, as well as involving parents in the process."

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