Lots of young people have had to miss some key life lessons because of the COVID-19 pandemic as many planned RSE lessons will not have taken place. It’s so important that young people are able to receive these lessons so they don’t completely miss out on growing their knowledge and developing skills that will help them navigate puberty and build healthy relationships.
11-year-old Keisha* tells her story
"The pandemic was so scary at the beginning. People in my town acted like it was the end of the world. The shelves in the shops were empty. I was worried that we would run out of food. I was also really worried I’d get the virus and die.
When I got a cold and started coughing, I’m not gonna lie, I thought that was it for me, for real. I got really stressed. I got tested and it was negative, but in that moment of waiting my heart was beating so fast. I know more older people get really sick with it, but some young people have too so I was panicking.
I liked missing school in some ways, but I didn’t like it in other ways. It got a bit boring at home after a while and my Dad wasn’t very good at teaching me like my teachers at school. He was trying, but he didn’t really know what he was talking about.
One thing that was really hard was going up to secondary school when I hadn’t even visited it. Everything changed really fast. Luckily my friends Taylor and Joshua were also going to the same school so that made it a bit easier.
One really scary thing that happened was that after half term, I started my period. I saw blood in the toilet and was scared in case it was to do with COVID-19. Then I realised it might be my period. They were going to talk to us about that stuff at primary school, but it got missed because of the pandemic. I didn’t know what to do.
My parents hadn’t talked to me about anything. I knew a bit about it from my friend Taylor, but I didn’t have any pads. I used tissues, but some of the blood had already leaked through. I tied my jumper around my skirt to cover it. I was panicking that the boys might see it.
Taylor helped me buy some pads after school. I told my Mum when I got home and she explained everything. I wish I knew about it before because then I wouldn’t have been so scared."
*name & image changed to protect identity
"I liked how the lesson made me feel comfortable about my body and I was free to ask questions without being judged. Puberty was explained in a way that was easy to understand, I liked the way the educators explained things - the reasons for the changes in our bodies. It was fun and I learned a lot of things about the body." Feedback from students after an Esteem puberty lesson.
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