LONDON, June 18 (UPI) -- Children should receive sex and relationship education beginning at age 5, appropriate to the maturity of the pupils, a British agency recommends.
The draft of the guidance, issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for public comment by registered organizations through July 15, says for those age 5 the program's education starts with learning about the value of friendships and having respect for others.
Officials at NICE say research shows 40 percent of young people rated their sex and relationships education in school as poor or very poor, while other studies say effective education on the topics can positively affect the health and well being of youth.
Teaching about sex, relationships and alcohol should begin in primary school and continue until early adulthood, the recommendations say. The draft document also recommends that:
-- Parents should be reassured that sex and relationships education does not promote early sex, increase rates of sexual activity or increase the likelihood of sexual experimentation, but helps youth resist pressure to get involved in activities that might damage their health.
-- Teachers who are willing to teach about sex, relationships and alcohol should have accredited training and the skills and competence to fulfill the role.