Sex and Relationship Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 21st September 2021.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress has been made on the implementation of statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools; how many schools have completed training; what quality assurance of providers has been undertaken; and how much funding has been allocated to schools for the delivery of that subject.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Since September 2020, it has been compulsory for schools to teach relationships education to primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education to secondary school-aged pupils and health education to all pupils in state-maintained schools. The department has been clear that, whilst it was appropriate last academic year for schools to prioritise relationship, sex and health education (RSHE) teaching to meet the needs of pupils, schools must deliver a full RSHE curriculum from September 2021.

The department does not collect information on how many schools in total have completed RSHE training. The department’s package of support to help develop teacher capability and competence to teach high quality RSHE included a training and peer support programme delivered by 20 lead teaching schools covering all eight regions in England. These teaching schools were appointed following a rigorous selection process based on an assessment of the quality of their training provision and experience and expertise. The programme was delivered in the last academic year and reached 3,800 schools. Provisional data for the fourth wave, which ended in July, shows that a further 1,000 schools have been supported. This is a cascade model of training whereby those trained are expected to share the training with other teachers in their school and wider school networks. Teaching schools’ training materials were based on the department’s training modules, which were developed with subject experts. Teaching schools have made their training materials and other resources freely available on their websites. We also published training modules which are freely available for all schools to download.

The department invested over £3 million in support for RSHE between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, and is investing up to £250,000 in 2021-22 for an additional wave of training. As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver RSHE, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

To support this flexibility, schools are also free to determine how they use their core funding allocated to them, including investing in RSHE training for teachers.

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