Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th December 2015.

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Photo of Ben Howlett Ben Howlett Conservative, Bath

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to address the effect of pornography on girls' impressions of sexual relations.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

Education can play a vital role in helping young people understand healthy relationships and identify those which are unhealthy. Sex and relationships education (SRE) must be taught in all maintained secondary schools and we expect most secondary academies teach it as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Any school teaching SRE must have regard to the Secretary of State’s Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (2000).

The guidance makes clear that all sex and relationship education should be age-appropriate and that schools should ensure young people develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgments and behaviour. This is particularly relevant to sexual consent and the guidance makes clear that all young people should understand how the law applies to sexual relationships. The guidance is available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sex-and-relationship-education

Schools can also choose to teach about pornography in their PSHE lessons drawing on the guidance and resources available. The PSHE Association has produced a suggested programme of study as guidance for teachers, which includes teaching about the impact of pornography. We commissioned the PSHE Association to produce guidance for schools on teaching about the topic of consent, which was published in March 2015 and is available online: https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/content.aspx?CategoryID=1161.

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