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Primary Education: Sex and Relationship Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2017.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to allow parents to remove their child from relationships education classes in primary schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The issue of withdrawal from Relationships Education in primary schools was discussed during the passage of the Children and Social Work Bill in March and April, and the House agreed that there would be no right of withdrawal from Relationships Education. This is because the subject will cover topics all children should know. The Secretary of State does not, therefore, have the legal power to provide in statute for a right to withdraw from Relationships Education in primary schools.

The current engagement process we are undertaking with stakeholders will help us to determine the right, age-appropriate content for relationships education and this will be set out in draft regulations and guidance, upon which we will consult and on which, in the case of the regulations, Parliament will debate and vote.

If a primary school chooses to deliver sex education, in addition to Relationships Education, this must be covered in the school’s policy and it must provide for parents to be able to withdraw their child from this education if they wish, except from elements delivered as part of the science curriculum.

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