Department for Science, Innovation and Technology: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written question – answered on 21 July 2023.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department produced a ministerial response under the write round process to the Department for Education's review of the relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

The Secretary of State for Education has been clear she is very concerned about reports of inappropriate materials being used to teach relationships and sex education (RSHE). The Government has brought forward the review of the RSHE statutory guidance as a result, including conducting a public consultation as soon as possible.

The statutory guidance clearly states that the guidance will be reviewed every three years from first teaching (September 2020) and so the decision to review the guidance does not require collective agreement. The Secretary of State for Education will seek collective agreement to the consultation documents through a write-round process, before publishing the consultation in the autumn. This process is not yet underway.

As part of the review, an expert panel has been established to advise the Secretary of State on what topics should and should not be taught in school and the introduction of age limits. This will provide clear guidance for teachers about when certain topics can be addressed.

In tandem to this work, the Oak Academy is producing a suite of materials to support teachers to create age-appropriate lessons plans and ensure that they have access to appropriate materials.

The Government is determined to make sure RSHE teaching leaves children equipped to make informed decisions about their health, wellbeing and relationships, in a sensitive way that reflects their stage of development.

The Government expects new statutory guidance to be released in the coming months. It will then be subject to public consultation to conclude by the end of the year, coming into statutory force as soon as possible after that.

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