Protecting children from early sexualisation workshop turns tide This week, Lynnette Smith of Doncaster-based BigTalk Education will be in Sheffield with her Sexualisation Education workshop, part of her ‘early warning’ roadshow around Yorkshire and the Humber which has already seen sell out workshops in Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Doncaster and Peterborough.
Protecting children from early sexualisation is something Professional Relationship and Sex Educator Lynnette (54) is passionate about. “On a daily basis, our children are surrounded by media messages about looks and sexuality, most of which they are too young to fully understand,” explains Lynnette. “From primary school, pupils striving for that thin, sexy ideal are being identified with eating disorders. The previously unknown crime of ‘sexting’, spreading sexual images via social media and the internet, is on the rise – and the average age I find children have admitted accessing internet porn is NINE. Some girls barely out of primary school are horrified that images they made to show they ‘loved’ their boyfriends are suddenly seen by hundreds of strangers far and wide. The pressure to conform is leaving our children stressed, lacking in self-esteem and susceptible to sexual and other bullying.” Lynnette is doing her utmost to turn the tide in children’s centres schools and Colleges throughout Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Big Talk have fifteen years experience of delivering relationship and sex education in schools, to professionals, agencies and direct to parents and carers. Back in the 90s, Lynnette ran youth centres and projects across most of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and began delivering sex education. In 2005, she became a freelance sex education trainer and consultant, commissioned to tackle teenage pregnancy in North Lincolnshire delivering sex education to Schools and young offenders. Despite the teen pregnancy rate dropping by 20% in areas Lynnette’s team worked, recent cuts meant the service was being closed. Lynnette took on all eight of her former sex education team colleagues in her own private sector company which she called Big Talk Education. Her team deliver sex and relationship lessons, workshops and roadshows to over 4000 children and young people in schools and communities each year. Lynnette herself delivers sex education training to youth workers, teachers, counsellors, foster carers, school nurses, children’s centre staff, family workers and parents. The deputy head of Willow School in Bessacarr, Doncaster recently attended the course. Mrs Gope commented “The content was excellent, informative and pacy. I will be feeding back to the staff and arrange parent training- they need to know about these issues.” Nicola Valantine, a Sheffield-based life coach and mum of two added, “This is a scary topic for many parents, Lynnette creates a safe environment to ask questions and encourage thoughts, I learnt loads.” Deborah Morgan is a youth worker, primary school supporter and parent who attended a recent workshop confirmed, “The day was excellent. The information will help me in all my roles. This is something which is not going to improve or disappear without parental intervention and education.” Lynnette responds to the common criticism that schools and parents should be offering this service by saying, “The ever-growing impact of early sexualisation on our teens is such that schools cannot counteract it in isolation. Parents already find talking about sex difficult enough and the growth of the internet has left them feeling ambushed and out-manoeuvred. This course gives anyone concerned for the wellbeing of their own children or those they work with, practical advice, understanding and tools to protect their children from the tide of the internet, media and retailers. From identifying aspects of sexualisation, to interpreting the disturbing statistics of latest Government reports, stopping sexual bullying in its tracks to building our families’ resistance to sexual exploitation, we know every parent and professional tells us they leave with new knowledge and a practical toolkit to help themselves and others.” The certificated workshop take place at the Aston Hotel, just off the Parkway Junction 33 from 9.30am to 4pm and is aimed at parents, school staff such as PHSE teachers, pastoral support or learning mentors, social or family support workers, youth and health workers and foster carers. There are a few places left at £75 or £130 for two from the same organization. Lynnette is so passionate about spreading the word, parents booking independently will receive a 50% discount. To book or for more information, contact Lynnette at BigTalk Education on 07811 686202 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bigtalkeducation.co.uk – ENDS- PHOTOGRAPHS Photos show Lynnette Smith training students in a school and with health professionals News release on behalf of Big Talk education by Faye Smith, Keep your Fork Marketing 07985 038265 Notes to the Editor Lynnette-Smith-shade.pngLynnette Smith, Founder of Big Talk Education Lynnette Smith (54) is the founder of Big Talk Education. She was born in Brighton but her parents moved to South Yorkshire when she was just 18 months old. Lynnette’s dad was a youth worker and mature student, her mum a bridge keeper and equal pay activist. After messing up her A Levels, nine ‘wilderness years’ at the Benefits Agency followed before Lynnette quit in 1983 to pursue her passion- working with young people. Part time youth work led to a full time post after returning to university at 31 and gaining a professional qualification. She ran youth centres and projects across most of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and began delivering sex education in 1991. In 2005, she became a freelance sex education trainer and consultant, contracted as teenage pregnancy coordinator for North Lincolnshire and to deliver sexual health education to young offenders. Despite the teen pregnancy rate dropping by 20% in areas Lynnette’s team worked, recent cuts meant the service was being closed. Lynnette resigned, set up her own private sector company which she called Big Talk Education and took on all eight of her former sex education team colleagues. Her team deliver sex education training to youth workers, teachers, counsellors, foster carers, school nurses, children’s centre staff, family workers and parents and deliver sex and relationship lessons, workshops and roadshows to over 4000 children and young people in ten schools each year. Lynnette counts her personal triumphs as thriving as a single parent with my two daughters after her divorce aged 37 a solo parachute jump and achieving her Day Skipper sailing qualification. Professionally, Lynnette’s expertise has been recognized this year by being nominated for the Family Planning Association ‘Innovation in Sex Education’ Award. She has also spoken at the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) conference, the national Sex Education Forum Conference and has trained staff and run her sex education work in Romanian orphanages and schools. Lynnette Smith, BigTalk Education 07811 686202 http://www.bigtalkeducation.co.uk Lynnette is affiliated to the Sex Education Forum and the National Children’s Bureau. She regularly speaks expertly on BBC radio and in the press on: · Sex education in different schools, academies and by parents · ‘Relationships’ as the new sex · Sex and the media · Social media/networking and sexual bullying · Teen dads- setting fathers up to fail · Teenagers- both boys and girls, similarities and differences · Unplanned pregnancy · Contraception · Sex education and step-parents · Sex education and children in care and ex-offenders · Internet pornography · The rise of ‘Sexting’ and the legal implications · Difficult questions children and young people ask from pre-school to teens · Sexually inappropriate behaviour · Strategies to reduce teen pregnancy successfully · Links between sexual behavior, obesity, alcoholism and unemployment with low self esteem · Sexualisation of adolescence- the latest thinking and reports · Starting up a business in the recession · Setting up a private sector business in response to a failure in the public sector Feature in Sheffield Star Family Matters http://www.thestar.co.uk/community/why-sex-should-not-be-a-taboo-subject-1-4251771