17/10/2011 17:31 BST | Updated 17/12/2011 10:12 GMT

Sex Education In Schools Is Still A 'Postcode Lottery'

Everyone will have their own horror stories of embarrassed teachers trying to lecture unruly, awkward schoolchildren about sex - tales which most believe belong firmly in the past.

But how much has this actually changed?

Over the past month, the quality - and quantity - of sex education in schools has been thoroughly scrutinised by trusts, charities and parents alike.

According to a survey conducted by Brook, a sexual health charity, and published last Wednesday, more than a third of teenagers said they got most of their information about sex from friends. Some 26 per cent agreed sex and relationships education (SRE) was "non-existent" at their school.

Additionally, a previous report from the Daily Telegraph revealed pupils were being left in the dark by teachers who felt "uncomfortable" teaching "sensitive" topics.

Karen Norris is a mother of four from Surrey, whose two boys attend different boarding schools. One goes to a mixed, non-religious school in Berkshire, while the other attends a boys-only Catholic institution in Oxfordshire.

"The varying degrees of sex education they get is unbelievable. My older son, who attends the mixed school, gets given condoms and seems to know pretty much everything there is to know about sex. But my 14-year-old, who boards at the boys-only school, hasn't a clue. I appreciate parents play a large role in educating their children about sex, but schools really should take some responsibility. There doesn't seem to be any sort of consistency across the board - and the schools are only a county apart," she said

Rebecca Finlay, press and campaigns manager for sexual health charity Family Planning Association (FPA) told the Huffington Post UK the system was a "postcode lottery".

"It completely depends where a child goes to school as to how much sex education they get."

FPA recommend sex education starts at primary school, so children can learn the basics.

"At five to seven, teachers should be talking about love", Finlay added. "From seven onwards, they should learn about puberty. It is important they understand what is happening to their bodies before it actually happens. Some girls do start menstruating at eight - in general, children are entering puberty younger; it's a lot to do with diet and lifestyle.

"Between 13 and 15 they should ideally be learning about sex and relationships. Teachers should be talking to pupils about sexuality and peer pressure. Those conversations are really important."

What's your view on the sex education currently being given in schools? Share your thoughts below.