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Now schools introduce a sex guide for your six-year-olds

Laura Clark, Daily Mail, UK, 18th September 2008

The FPA [*Family Planning Association] is producing 50,000 copies of the pamphlet and will promote them in primary schools.

The first sex education pamphlet for six-year-olds is being marketed to primary schools to encourage teachers to start sex lessons earlier.

The comic, from the former Family Planning Association, includes illustrations of a naked girl and boy and invites youngsters to label the genitals.

The group, now called the FPA, is producing 50,000 copies of Let's Grow with Nisha and Joe in an initial print run and promoting it to schools across the UK.

The FPA insisted the 12-page comic, designed for use in school and at home by six and seven-year-olds, was a 'gentle introduction'.

But angry parents condemned it as 'too much too young' and warned against robbing children of their innocence.

Margaret Morrissey, of the lobby group Parents Outloud, said she would have gone 'ballistic' had her own children brought a copy home.

She said: "Giving children explicit names for body parts at this age seems clinical."

"We are feeding them this information when they still should be playing with dolls and toy cars."

At that age, children are unlikely to have the ability to ask the right questions.

"We have got to be so careful that we are educating, not confusing or putting fear into their minds."

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: "Parents already cover such things by word and example in the context of everyday life. Groups like the FPA want to go an awful lot further and be much more explicit."

"The FPA wants to ride roughshod over the views of parents and force all primary schools to provide sex education, whether parents and teachers like it or not."

The FPA is urging ministers to use a forthcoming review of sex education to put it on a compulsory footing in primary schools.

Currently, primary heads and governors decide whether or not to provide sex education beyond the compulsory science requirements in the national curriculum. They can also choose the teaching materials.

Schools are urged to consult families but some parents have claimed that unsuitable books, guides and DVDs have been used without-their knowledge.

The FPA comic, which costs 15 for 50 copies, invites pupils to list differences between boys' and girls' bodies and draw a line from words in boxes to the body parts they identify.

Guidance for teachers says: "Young children can believe incorrect, confusing and misleading information about puberty and sex which they have worked out either on their own or with the help of friends and siblings."

"Talking about body parts is often easier for children when they are younger, as they are less self-conscious about their bodies."

"If parents/carers and teachers don't talk to children about growing up they may pick up the idea that it is scary or shouldn't be talked about."

The FPA, which receives 130,000 annually in government funding, said finance for the project came mainly from charitable trusts.

Chief executive Julie Bentley said last night that sex education at primary level was intermittent and inconsistent across the country.

She said the comic should help encourage schools which are not providing sex education to start doing so.

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