The Government believes that pupils need to understand the nature of marriage and its importance. The new subjects of relationships education (primary) and relationships and sex education (secondary) cover the age-appropriate knowledge that all children need to form safe, positive relationships based on respect and to prepare them for adult life, including family life.
Following the passage of the regulations for the new subjects, the Department published the statutory guidance in June 2019. The guidance covers teaching about different types of relationships, and this is addressed throughout the content. Under the topic of families, for example, the guidance sets out that by the end of primary education pupils will know “that marriage and civil partnerships represent a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong”. By the end of secondary education, pupils will know “what marriage and civil partnerships are, including their legal status”. Teaching about family and parenting is also included in these subjects.
The guidance also notes that teaching about families requires sensitive and well-judged teaching based on knowledge of pupils and their circumstances. The guidance can be accessed here: