UK school pupils ‘using AI to create indecent imagery of other children’

Protection groups call for urgent action to help pupils understand risks of making images that legally constitute child sexual abuse

Children in British schools are using artificial intelligence (AI) to make indecent images of other children, a group of experts on child abuse and technology has warned.

They said that a number of schools were reporting for the first time that pupils were using AI-generating technology to create images of children that legally constituted child sexual abuse material.

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Penguin Random House launches high schoolers’ award to combat book bans

The publisher’s $10,000 Freedom of Expression prize invites teens to write about a banned book that changed their life, against a backdrop of rising censorship

Publisher Penguin Random House has launched a new writing award in the US celebrating freedom of expression in response to a rise in book bans across the country.

The Freedom of Expression award invites applicants to write about one banned book that changed their life and why. The $10,000 (£8,168) prize will be awarded to a high-school student planning to attend university in 2024.

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Gillian Keegan tells schools to let parents see sex education materials

Education secretary’s letter emphasises copyright cannot be used as ‘excuse’ to withhold RSHE teaching resources

Gillian Keegan has written to schools in England ordering them to make the materials used in children’s sex education available to be seen by parents, warning headteachers there can be “no ifs, no buts, no more excuses”.

It is the second letter the education secretary has sent to schools on the issue, which has been seized upon by some backbench Conservative MPs amid claims that children are being exposed to inappropriate material during relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) at school.

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‘If we don’t teach kids about consent, the internet will’: Natasha Devon on the importance of sex education

The mental health campaigner’s new book tackles sex and relationships through the eyes of a 16-year-old. In the face of a backlash against inclusive sex ed in schools she explains why we have to keep the conversation open

Sex education has always been a hot topic. But at a time when children are seeing pornography by the age of 13 on average, it feels especially urgent. With her young adult novel Babushka, the sequel to the coming-of-age Toxic, mental health campaigner Natasha Devon MBE tackles themes like victim blaming, safe sex and healthy relationships through the eyes of Cerys, age 16, who leaves Wales for the bright lights of London declaring: “I’ve never felt like I don’t know who I am. Just that I was in the wrong place.”

Devon herself felt similarly when she was growing up in Ugley, a village in Essex. Reading magazines like Cosmopolitan made her think: “In a big city I’ll find my tribe.”

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What women want when they pay for sex: ‘Just kindness’

In his four years as a sex worker, Dan Moon saw women whose needs were more than physical. He brought a listening ear – and an open heart – which led to him ‘falling in care’ with his clients

It’s not that men never noticed Ellie*. “I was just not one bit interested,” she says. While her friends were out collecting “horror stories” and boyfriends, then later, husbands and children, her focus was “finish school, go to uni, get a job, do all that stuff”. That focus paid off with a career in science, but by the time she turned 37 she was still a virgin, “and I felt like a part of me was missing”.

Sally* was never interested in marriage or children, but she has had “some lovely relationships along the way”. Her struggle has always been with monogamy. “Because for me, that was never important.” For the past decade, the 54-year-old marketing executive has been happily partnered to “a really open-minded person”, which meant she “didn’t need anything more than that newness of sexual adventure”.

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School leaders frustrated by ‘squabble’ over Sunak’s promised transgender guidance

Internal battle between ministers leaving schools in England isolated, says headteachers’ representative

Schools are being left in limbo by the government’s “political squabbles” delaying its transgender guidance for students and staff, according to school leaders.

Rishi Sunak had promised that guidance for schools in England dealing with trans issues would be published by the end of the summer term. But the guidance has been held up by legal questions, with No 10 saying on Wednesday that “more evidence is required” before publication.

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School in ‘cat pupil’ controversy given Ofsted all-clear after snap inspection

Inspectors praise ‘sensitive and impartial’ teaching of relationship and sex education at Rye College after secret video raised concerns

Ofsted has given the school at the centre of the “cat pupil” allegations a clean bill of health, with inspectors praising its “culture of kindness” as well as its handling of relationship and sex education.

Ofsted inspected Rye College in East Sussex after a complaint by Kemi Badenoch, the minister for women and equalities. There had been media coverage of a video of pupils arguing with a teacher over gender and identity, with one pupil appearing to claim that a student identified as a cat.

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‘Gay life is better now. Absolutely’: five generations on coming out and what came next

From a student in the 60s for whom sex was illegal to a recent arrival on the gay scene, four men and a non-binary queer person on how their lives – and sex lives – have changed

Plus six high-profile queer figures on their experiences

‘We didn’t realise we were killing each other’

George Hodson, 73
I went to university in London in 1967, the year the decriminalisation bill went through. It was no longer illegal to have gay sex in England and Wales if you were over 21, but it was still frowned upon. I was 18, so it was still illegal for me, but I never thought much about the legality. I was too busy enjoying myself.

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Teenagers in Scotland campaign to improve education on consent

Bold Girls Ken seek youth-led changes in curriculum to help children understand concept earlier

Every young person should know what consent looks and feels like, online and offline, according to a group of Perthshire teenagers who are pioneering a youth-led upgrade of sex education.

Taking a bracingly honest approach to the deluge of “normalised” soft pornography they say most children are familiar with by the time they enter high school, Bold Girls Ken is the first campaign of its kind in Scotland, with young women designing their own learning materials.

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‘Child identifying as cat’ controversy: from TikTok video to media frenzy

Tory calls for urgent investigation raise eyebrows as Rye college says no pupil identifies ‘as a cat or any other animal’

It started off innocuously enough – a leaked snippet of teenage pupils at a school debating whether a person could identify as a cat.

But within days, and thanks to a media frenzy, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer were being asked about the remarks. And by the end of the week, Kemi Badenoch was demanding the school be urgently investigated by Ofsted in case there were safeguarding issues.

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