The school has apologised. The child’s mother, a Mrs Taylor, is tremendously upset. Not that you could blame her:

A mum is ‘fuming’ over her 11-year-old daughter’s school work which asked children to define hardcore pornography – among other ‘inappropriate’ topics.

Children in Years 7, 8 and 9 at Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull were set the work in their Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) class as part of their home learning.

Teachers have asked the 11 to 14-year-olds to ‘define’ pornography, soft pornography, hardcore pornography and transsexual pornography, as well as female genital mutilation, wet dreams, trafficking, male circumcision, breast ironing and more.

They were also asked questions about alcohol, drugs and smoking.

Following complaints from parents, the academy has now apologised for any offence caused.

Two things: First, at 36 years of age, this writer still doesn’t know what “breast ironing” is, which just goes to show you that we weren’t taught in school at all, right?

Second: What were they thinking? You tell a student these days to define something and, if they’re not sure, the very first thing they will do will be to stick it into google. Let’s hope a lot of the parents in that school had their google safesearch turned on.

The school has apologised, says the Daily Mail:

The academy has apologised to parents and said students were not expected to search those terms online.

Academy principal Chay Bell said: ‘I am genuinely sorry if parents or students have unnecessarily researched any of these phrases and for any offence caused.

‘I have asked that any future materials of this nature have a clear statement ensuring students and their parents are aware of any potentially sensitive content and will ensure all materials are fully age appropriate.

“Oops, sorry we asked your child to google hardcore porn unnecessarily is an interesting apology”, implying as it does that there are circumstances in which it might be necessary.

The problem, in all of these sex education rows, is a general lack of common sense from everyone involved. It’s probably a good idea to make pre-teenagers aware that there is sexual material on the internet that people may send them and to emphasise that this material does not reflect reality and that this is not how they are expected to behave. The danger with hardcore pornography and children, after all, is that to an impressionable 13 year old it might appear that various acrobatics are expected of them by the opposite sex. Teaching them that this is not the case is a good idea. That does necessitate talking about it.

But asking them to define “hardcore” pornography? You don’t get to my age these days without having at least seen some pornography, but defining “hardcore” versus “softcore” would be a challenge even for someone with a decent grasp of the English language. It’s entirely unfair to ask a child to do it.

You do sympathise with schools on one level, though: There are plenty of parents out there who are more than happy to pass over the responsibility of teaching their children about the birds and the bees to hapless schools and teachers, because they’d rather avoid the embarrassment of that conversation themselves. That’s why you get political pressure for sex education programmes in the first place, because it’s comforting to many people that little Jimmy will be told the ins and outs of it by a qualified adult, rather than Mum and Dad having to face up to telling him where he came from.

But of course, few teachers are truly qualified, because nobody really is. All the qualifications in the world can’t grant you the natural gifts of tact and sensitivity. And that’s how you end up with somebody accidentally telling kids to google hardcore porn.

Oh well. Let’s face it: The kid’s 11. According to some sources, the average 8 year old in the western world knows more about how to find porn online than you probably do. The child was probably just happy to have easy homework, for a change.