Regarding the 2022/23 programme for government: FOI release
- Learning Directorate
- Part of
- Public sector
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
1. Given that the 2022/23 programme for government (p.29) outlines the ambition to "develop guidance and teaching materials for young people on consent and healthy relationships" and that this will "support the prevention of sexual harassment and gender based violence," will the Scottish Government remove teaching material, or remove its endorsement of this material, which actively promotes children in exploring pornography? This is recognising the fact that all
successive SNP Scottish Government administrations have understood, on record, commercial sexual exploitation (whether this be prostitution, pornography, or lap dancing) as forms of gender based violence. This question is also asked in recognition of the fact that women and girls subject to these forms of commercial sexual exploitation are often victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, and all children involved are legally victims of abuse."
2. Is the Scottish Government actively aware of the teaching materials it endorses which promote the exploration of pornography?
3. When will the Scottish Government open a public consultation on the A Model for Scotland campaign, in line with its manifesto commitments?
1. You asked “Given that the 2022/23 programme for government (p.29) outlines the ambition to "develop guidance and teaching materials for young people on consent and healthy relationships" and that this will "support the prevention of sexual harassment and gender based violence," will the Scottish Government remove teaching material, or remove its endorsement of this material, which actively promotes children in exploring pornography?”
The Scottish Government has neither published nor endorses any teaching material which actively promotes children exploring pornography.
Scotland does not have a statutory curriculum. This means that rather than teachers being given a prescriptive list of topics they must teach at particular stages, it is for teachers, head teachers and other professional educational practitioners to decide how best to deliver the curriculum based on local needs and circumstances.
The rshp.scot resource is one of many resources available to practitioners to use in the delivery of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education. A summary of some of the resources used in RSHP education is available to schools on Education Scotland’s National Improvement Hub.
The rshp.scot website and the resources it contains were developed and published by a collaborative partnership of health boards and local authorities, to help improve delivery of the existing curriculum. It provides teachers with a valuable resource to support children and young people's learning and understanding in RSHP education. The resource provides teachers with factual information about sexual and reproductive health in a non-judgemental manner, to enable children and young people to make informed decisions about their lives.
The resource in no way promotes pornography. Any mention of pornography is done so in a way that is appropriate to age and stage of learners and in line with the curricular framework that sets out learning experiences which set in context how pornography can negatively impact on mental health and healthy relationships. This learning does not promote the use of pornography. Learning on pornography is intended to enable young people to be critical about the media they are viewing as young people believe watching pornography made people less respectful of the opposite sex.
For example, at second level, educators have the option to include one optional slide during a lesson on internet safety explaining (in general terms) what pornography is, if this is of relevance to their P6 or P7 learners, depending on their age and stage. This is done in the context of encouraging learners to speak to a trusted adult if they see something online they do not understand or which makes them uncomfortable. Only at third/fourth level (S1 to S3) is a specific learning activity on the harms of pornography introduced, explaining it can be a medium through which people are hurt, objectified and exploited. The intention of this learning is to encourage young people to think critically about pornography; to understand how to manage their exposure to pornography; and, to know they can make a choice to not watch it.
Resources for the senior phase (S4 to S6) set in context how pornography can negatively impact on mental health and healthy relationships. Learners are taught the behaviours they may have seen in pornography, including violent and degrading behaviours, are not appropriate, common or wanted in real life relationships.
2. You asked “Is the Scottish Government actively aware of the teaching materials it endorses which promote the exploration of pornography?”.
As outlined above, the Scottish Government has neither published nor endorses any teaching material which actively promotes children exploring pornography.
3. You asked “When will the Scottish Government open a public consultation on the A Model for Scotland campaign, in line with its manifesto commitments?”.
The Scottish Government have a Programme for Government commitment to develop a model for Scotland which effectively tackles and challenges men’s demand for prostitution. This work will aim to reduce stigma and criminalisation experienced by those with experience of prostitution and encourage better access to services.
This work is being taken forward through the development of a ‘Framework for Scotland to challenge men’s demand for prostitution and support those with experience of prostitution’.
To underpin the Framework, we have worked with an expert group of stakeholders to develop fundamental principles which will ensure that equality, human rights and safety are at its heart. Work is progressing well, and it is anticipated that the principles will be published later this year.
The principles and the developing Framework have also been informed by our 2020 consultation on challenging men's demand for prostitution, working to reduce the harms associated with prostitution and helping women to exit. There was a high level of engagement with the consultation, from both individuals and organisations and over 4,000 responses were received. Equally safe - challenging men's demand for prostitution: Scottish Government response - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
We will continue to work across government and with stakeholders as our work on the Framework progresses.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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