TEACHERS in East Lancashire are to be given extra training after the Government announced children as young as five were to be given sex education.

All primary and secondary schools in East Lancashire will have to teach the youngsters about personal, social and health education under new proposals that could take effect as early as 2011.

Education bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council have welcome the announcement and say it would close a loophole in the current curriculum.

At present schools can opt out and not run sex education lessons.

Graham Hatfield, Lancashire County Council’s senior advisor for school and community said the proposals created a level playing field for all schools but stressed conferences would be held to ensure teachers can teach the subject effectively.

He said: “We have been criticised for high pregnancy rates and we know some schools are not teaching personal, social and health education.

“We think it is a step in the right direction. We at this end have to try to make it happen. It is challenging. Where are the resources coming from ."

Chris Thayne, executive member for children's services at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: "At present, primary, secondary and special schools in Blackburn with Darwen teach personal, social and health education (PSHE)) and included in this are aspects of sexual and relationship education (SRE). Schools are encouraged to have SRE policy which is approved by governors and would include parental representation.”

The Bishop of Burnley John Goddard said: ““I think the best way our children will be learning about relationships in an educational situation is with parents, secondly this implies that sex education must be seen as part of an understanding parental relationship. I would like to see parents informing their children but it is essential for this to happen in school if people feel unable to do this.”