SEX education has been given to 12-year-olds attending assembly at a Lothians secondary school – sparking concern that children may have been exposed to unsuitable material.
One parent of an S1 pupil at Dunbar Grammar said they felt “aggrieved” when their child returned home after attending an assembly on Monday during which a “power-point presentation” was given on access to free condoms and tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia.
East Lothian education bosses admitted they had not written to parents to inform them of the six-minute talk but said it had been cleared with the school’s parent council.
They said sexual health services were not usually offered to children under the age of 13 and that the presentation was arranged in anticipation of a time when S1 pupils would want to use them.
But complaints have emerged over the fact parents were not told the talk would take place, with concern also expressed that children aged 12 were too young to receive detailed advice on STIs and using condoms.
One parent, who did not want to be named, said they were “taken aback” when their child came home on Monday and revealed what was discussed at assembly.
The parent said: “I was not consulted on this and I feel really aggrieved about the whole thing.”
Education leaders said the presentation was organised as part of East Lothian’s Healthy Respect programme, which offers comprehensive information on a range of topics, including use of sex toys and lubricant, as well as condoms.
It is understood that such material was not discussed with S1 pupils at the school and that presentations were tailored for each year group.
“When my daughter came home and said condoms, I was taken aback.
“My gut reaction was, ‘oh my goodness’, and that maybe my kid was too young to be talking about this,” said the parent.
“For some parents, not knowing about the talk would be an issue. As a parent, you often don’t have much contact with the school, but I suppose it’s partly my problem in not doing more to find out what was going on.”
An East Lothian Council spokeswoman said: “While it is not our practice to write to parents about the content of assemblies, the initiative was discussed in detail with the parent council and it was agreed the next step would be that it would be presented at assemblies to young people, whose views would then be sought.
“The presentation to S1 included information on the range of services that Healthy Respect provides. It was made clear that the services are only available to young people aged 13 and over.
“However, as the young people at the assembly might want to access the Healthy Respect service as they grow older, it was important to let them know about what Healthy Respect can offer now and how the service might develop.”