Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Relationships and Sex Education — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 25th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Chair, Petitions Committee 4:30 pm, 25th February 2019

I do, and I will come to that later in my remarks. Those of us who are long in the tooth will remember the controversy over a book called “Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin” in the 1980s. That book was available to teachers to use as necessary; it was not used routinely in schools.

It is important to say what is and is not being proposed by the Government. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 requires all maintained primary schools to teach relationships education, and all maintained secondary schools to teach relationships and sex education. Importantly, it qualifies that with the words “age-appropriate”, because teachers know that we cannot teach children concepts that their mind cannot grapple with. They simply do not take it in. Learning how children’s brains develop is part of a teacher’s training. We would be wasting our time trying to teach them things they cannot possibly understand at a young age.

Following the 2017 Act, the Government put out a call for evidence on the teaching of RSE and personal, social, health and economic education, and then issued draft guidelines last year. I have not yet seen the final guidelines—well, I have seen them, but they are under an embargo until the Secretary of State has finished his statement to the House. I will come on to that in a minute.