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Relationship and Sex Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Independent Ulster Unionist

To ask Her Majesty's Government what lessons they have learnt from the criticisms of Warwickshire County Council’s “All About Me” programme to deliver relationships and sex education that it included inappropriate content; what assessment they have made of whether other education authorities’ relationships and sex education programmes include inappropriate content; and what steps they are taking to ensure programmes to deliver relationships and sex education in primary schools do not include inappropriate content once it becomes a mandatory part of the curriculum in September.

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

We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we are making relationships education compulsory for primary-age pupils, relationships and sex education compulsory for secondary-age pupils, and health education compulsory in all state-funded schools from September 2020.

Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an approach that is sensitive to the needs and backgrounds of their pupils. The statutory guidance also sets out some clear advice on choosing resources. The guidance sets out that schools should ensure that they assess each resource that they propose to use and ensure that it is appropriate for the age and maturity of pupils, and sensitive to their needs. These resources must also be factually accurate. The statutory guidance is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/805781/Relationships_Education__Relationships_and_Sex_Education__RSE__and_Health_Education.pdf.

Schools will be expected to consult when developing and reviewing their primary school relationships education and secondary school relationships and sex education policy. Schools should also ensure that parents know what will be taught and when, and communicate the fact that parents have the right to request that their child be withdrawn from some or all of sex education delivered as part of statutory relationships and sex education. Schools should also ensure that, when they consult with parents, they provide examples of the resources that they plan to use.

To support schools in their preparations, the department is investing in a central support package to help all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice. We are currently developing a new online service featuring innovative training materials, case studies and support to access resources. This will cover all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance and will include advice on what things to consider when selecting appropriate resources.

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