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Sex and Relationship Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to review sex and relationships education in schools and academies to ensure it includes age-appropriate guidance on online pornography.

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

From September 2020, relationships education will become compulsory for all primary-aged pupils, relationships and sex education (RSE) compulsory for all secondary-aged pupils, and health education compulsory for all pupils in state-funded schools. These subjects are designed to ensure pupils are taught the knowledge and life skills they will need to stay safe, build confidence and resilience, and develop healthy and supportive relationships.

In relationships education and RSE, teachers need to address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to pupils’ lives. Teachers should include content on how information and data is shared and used in all contexts, including online. This should include, for example, how specifically sexually explicit material such as pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners. Teaching should also cover relevant aspects of the law so that pupils understand that sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties, including custodial sentences.

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