Consent to be taught in sex education classes at schools

Sexting and revenge pornography will also be covered

Plans are in place for sex education classes in schools to cover consent, domestic violence and revenge porn.

The government’s inquiry into sexual harassment in schools, found that 75 per cent of girls in their late teens have heard names such as “slut”, “bitch” and “slag” several times a week, yet many boys dismissed these words as “banter”. A separate survey also found that it was considered normal for girls to be slapped on their buttocks and that naked pictures of girls often circulated among boys.

The education secretary, Justine Greening, has advised her department to work on plans to reverse the exemption, which means academies and free schools do not have to offer classes on sex education and relationships. Almost two thirds of secondary schools are now academies or free schools, which means if the exemption is reversed, sex education will be made compulsory in every school.

However, according to a government source, parents will still be allowed to withdraw their children from sex education classes.

A Department of Education spokeswoman commented: “High-quality education on sex and relationships is a vital part of preparing young people for success in adult life.

“The topic is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools, and many academies and free schools teach it as part of the curriculum. However, we are actively looking at options to ensure that all children have access to high-quality teaching of these subjects.”