There’s a coffee-morning atmosphere in the classroom at Oak Field School, Nottingham, as teacher Tom Hall sits with six teenage boys, offering stories, encouragement and light relief. This is a sex education lesson. Laminated “OK/Not OK” cards are scattered around the table which, along with illustrations of sexual anatomy, show actions such as “touch,” “cuddle,” “masturbation”. The boys do not smirk or titter, but point and sign: it is OK to cuddle your sister; it is not OK to kiss your friends.
“Is it OK at your age to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Hall asks. James, 16, says yes, with vigour, but something is playing on his mind: “Can you get married twice?” he asks. “You mean at the same time?” James nods. “No,” Hall smiles, “That might be a risky business.” It’s a lesson in love learned sooner rather than later.