Female Genital Mutilation: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th April 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about female genital mutilation education being taught in schools; and from whom.

Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government how female genital mutilation education is taught in schools.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is child abuse and it is illegal. Services, including schools, should safeguard children from this abuse as from any other form of abuse.

Schools are able to teach about FGM as part of non-statutory personal, social, health and economic education.

By the end of secondary education, pupils should have been taught about FGM. Schools should address the physical and emotional damage caused by FGM. Pupils should be taught where to find support and that it is a criminal offence to perform or assist in the performance of FGM or fail to protect a person for whom one is responsible from FGM. Pupils may also need support to recognise when relationships (including family relationships) are unhealthy or abusive (including the unacceptability of neglect, emotional, sexual and physical abuse, honour-based violence and forced marriage) and strategies to manage this or access support for oneself or others at risk. All teaching for these subjects should be age and developmentally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of the pupil, including ensuring that no pupil feels stigmatised. Schools should work closely with the local community and key partners, such as school nurses, and draw on local health data when planning their teaching for any aspect of these subjects. Teaching about FGM will not be in isolation but as part of a wider context of positive relationships, health and mental wellbeing. The focus on ensuring pupils know how to get further help should be threaded throughout these subjects.

The statutory guidance for these subjects was developed as part of a call for evidence and public consultation, and the government’s response is attached and available here:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/supporting_documents/180718%20Consultation_call%20for%20evidence%20response_policy%20statement.pdf.

The summary of the public consultation includes a list of the organisations engaged within Annex A, which is attached and available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/780768/Government_Response_to_RSE_Consultation.pdf.

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