Education: Genito-urinary Medicine

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2022.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to improve the current provision of education on sexual health.

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

The introduction of compulsory relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) in schools from September 2020 will increase young people’s knowledge in several areas of men's and women's health. The department is clear in its ‘Relationships and sex education and health education’ statutory guidance that pupils in secondary schools should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, and sexual health in an age-appropriate and inclusive way. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

The department has given schools the flexibility to design the content of their curriculum to support their cohort of pupils and have signposted them to expert advice on reproductive health.

It is important that teachers have the confidence to teach RSHE effectively, including teaching about sexual health. To help schools with this, the department has published a range of online teacher training modules covering each of the key subject areas. The modules are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. The module on ‘Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health’ indicates that by the end of secondary school, pupils should know the facts about reproductive health, including fertility, and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women.

In September 2020, the department also published non-statutory implementation guidance, ‘Plan your relationships, sex and health curriculum’, and funded the delivery of a train the trainer and peer support programme to schools from April 2020 to July 2021. The programme reached 4,800 schools.

The department has contracted with IFF Research to undertake a national survey of school leaders, RSHE leads and RSHE teachers, supported by qualitative research with school staff and pupils. The research will test whether schools are implementing the requirements with sufficient quality and help us to understand barriers and facilities to quality implementation, to inform any further support offers.

Additionally, the Schools White Paper commits to further strengthening RSHE and Ofsted plans to undertake a review of personal development in schools, which includes RSHE. The report will be published later this year.

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