“The professional side of it”: exploring discomfort in delivering RSE, in an independent boarding school in England

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    Teachers in Lady Agatha’s Boarding School (Lady Agatha’s) find teaching Sex and Relationships Education (RSE) uncomfortable. This paper investigates one aspect of the discomfort that they feel, namely the impact RSE has on their professional status as teachers. I use focus group data to reflect on the professional, and personal, location of teachers at Lady Agatha’s to explore their understanding of RSE through the recurring themes of professionalism and professional reputation as symbolic capital; deprofessionalisation and risk as symbolic violence; and the connects/disconnects between, doxa and illusio of the school. This paper suggests that by interrogating the sites of symbolic violence which generate RSE discomfort, we can start to unpick the fabric which creates discomfort about RSE, allowing for both a deeper understanding of RSE discomfort in teachers and an opportunity to address the discomfort as a barrier to RSE delivery at Lady Agatha’s.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalSex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning
    Early online date14 Jun 2023
    Publication statusEarly online - 14 Jun 2023


    • RSE
    • Bourdieu
    • deprofessionalisation
    • professional
    • discomfort

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