Part of Rating and Valuation – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education) 6:37 pm, 20th March 2019

One of the key elements of relationships education is ensuring that children are aware, including in primary schools, that loving families can be made up of two mothers, two fathers or one mother and one father. Children are being taught that other family structures are just as loving and caring as their own. There is a consensus on that among all right hon. and hon. Members.

The responses and submissions have helped to finalise the statutory guidance and regulations. It is clear, as was reflected in the Government consultation response, that there are understandable and legitimate areas of contention, but it is also clear that for many people the subjects and their content are important to help equip children and young people to manage the challenges they face. It is important to provide clear and concise guidance for schools. In reviewing responses and determining the final content, we have retained a focus on the core principles for the new subjects that Parliament endorsed through the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

Those principles are that the subjects should help to keep children safe, help to prepare them for the world in which they are growing up, including its laws, and help to foster respect for others and for difference. The content included must be developmentally and age-appropriate, and it must be taught in a sensitive and inclusive way that respects the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils. We believe that in developing the accompanying statutory guidance and required content for these subjects, we have struck the right balance between prescribing the core knowledge that all pupils should be taught and allowing flexibility for schools to design a curriculum that is relevant to their pupils.

Parents and carers are the prime teachers for children, and schools complement and reinforce that role by building on what pupils learn at home. That is why we decided to strengthen the requirement for schools to consult parents on their relationships and relationships and sex education policy by enshrining it in the regulations as well as the guidance.