Once upon a time I was a geography teacher. That was before I found out how many of my secondary pupils were getting pregnant. So I ended up running one of the most comprehensive sex education programmes in London. Can you imagine – it was timetabled every week for every class in the girls’ secondary modern school – soon to become a comprehensive – where I was working in the early sixties. And there were five of us in the sex education department. That’s probably what’s meant by the good old days!
Things moved on. There were two years as teacher in charge of a home for pregnant schoolgirls, then advisory work in the health education teachers‘ centre in London. This was where I started getting involved with special schools. Eventually it was young people with learning disabilities who became my specialism, my delight and my abiding passion for the next 25 years. It was my great fortune to take part in the development of Image in Action and its challenging work with young people and adults with learning disabilities until I finally retired last year, to return to my first interest by running an environmental group in the west country.
I have no doubt that learning about sex and sexual development is a powerful way of helping people with learning disabilities to understand themselves and the world around them, to become more mature and to enjoy their relationships with others. It’s one of the areas in which there has been real progress, and one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever been involved with.
As a member of the advisory group in the early years of the Sex Education Forum I couldn’t help but get involved with education – and sexual – politics, another interest that has remained with me. And I know from experience what a difference the SEF has made. We’re still waiting for SRE to be a properly acknowledged and properly taught part of every child’s entitlement. But it will happen – and the Forum will be able to claim more than a little of the credit.
Lorna Scott MA, Life Member of the Sex Education Forum