Relationship Education in Schools

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education) 12:39 pm, 16th July 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her support for what is a landmark piece of legislation and statutory guidance. We should not allow this debate to overshadow the importance of what has been achieved. Thousands of schools do wish to adopt this policy early—in September—and we are producing an implementation guide for those early adopters on how to plan and develop the curriculum and to engage parents. We are also producing a guide on parental engagement planned for the early autumn about what the consultation means, what good practice is and where schools can get more support when they encounter the kind of problems we have seen in Birmingham.

The hon. Lady is right: we need to tackle misinformation. That is why we have produced these myth busters, which have been widely disseminated and are having an impact. On training, we are spending £6 million a year to develop online portals and material that we can spread to teachers who require that training. There should be a consensus in the House about the importance of updated guidance. It is 20 years since the last set of guidance on how to teach sex and relationships education in our schools, and she will know how much her party has helped achieve equality for LGBT people in this country in those 20 years and how the Conservative party, under the last Prime Minister, introduced the right of gay people to marry—a right that I am personally extremely grateful for. We have had to ensure that our guidance reflects modern society. I am convinced that when this guidance and the curriculum are rolled out nationally we will be helping people better to prepare for life in modern Britain.