Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A new headline and my tube friend

Thankfully I rarely use the tube to get around London, preferring instead to hotfoot it on my fold away bike, but yesterday I didn't have the physical energy to cycle so I ended up on the tube.

As I sat down, the man next to me was reading his Metro paper. As he turned the page I saw the headline 'transexual lessons for five year olds'. Now I have seen plenty of 'sex lessons for five year olds' and 'gay lessons for four year olds' headlines and expect to see many more, but this was a first.

So i (annoyingly) tried to read the article over his shoulder. He (annoyingly) decided he didn't want me to read over his shoulder and repositioned his paper. Normally the tube is littered with people's read free papers by 7.30, but not yesterday. So unable to wait I had to ask if I could please read the article about transexual lessons for five years.

He gave me the paper, i scanned the article as quickly as possible to learn that this is a non story. And that it was reporting on the fact that as part of PSHE Education children will learn about equality and domestic violence. There was nothing new in it, so why the new headline? As i read the article I sighed and shook my head and muttered this is ridiculous. I thought I was quiet, but my fast becoming friend - lets call him Sam - agreed, although misunderstood what i thought was ridiculous, so actually we disagreed because he thought transexual lessons for five year olds was ridiculous and a signal this government had lost the plot.

Now what annoys me to hell about this is that in the space of three tube stops he learnt quite a lot about PSHE Education and cheerily claimed to be an advocate as I hopped off at Euston. And I learnt first hand from your average (sorry Sam you were by no means average) about the insidious role of those tedious headlines on rational people's understanding of what children will be taught in school, and it breeds fear and suspicion and contempt about an area of education that is absolutely right and moral that it is taught in schools working in partnership with parents.

So the curriculum isn't changing, but the headlines are - what will the headline be next? Ideas on this blog!

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