Sex and Relationship Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th October 2016.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when her Department's guidance on sex and relationships education will be revised.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to include in the proposed Education for All Bill a contractual obligation on schools to provide sex and relationships education.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with Ofsted on sex and relationships education.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to provide additional resources to local authorities or schools for sex and relationships education.

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

We want schools to provide all young people with a curriculum that equips them for success in adult life. High-quality sex and relationship education (SRE) and personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education have a vital role to play in this.

SRE is compulsory in maintained secondary schools. Academies and free schools do not have to teach SRE, but many choose to do so as part of their statutory duty to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.

When teaching SRE, all schools, including academies through their funding agreement, must have regard to the Secretary of State's Sex and Relationship Education guidance. The existing SRE guidance was last updated in 2000. We have received requests about updating the guidance which we will consider carefully.

Schools and teachers have the freedom to design lessons that meet their pupils’ needs, taking account of pupil and parent views. Teachers are encouraged to develop their practice with the support of specialist organisations and expert professionals. Many of these specialist organisations have produced resources that can be used and adapted by schools.

We hold regular meetings with Ofsted about a range of matters. As the Secretary of State said at the Education Select Committee hearing in September 2016, we need to look again at how schools deliver high-quality PSHE, including SRE. We are considering all the options, including the need for any statutory powers, and will come to a view soon.

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