Yesterday the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, announced that relationships and sex education will be made statutory in all primary and secondary schools, with schools required to teach this content from September 2019.
All primary schools in England will be required to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships education’ and all secondary schools in England will be required to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships and sex education’. Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver the subjects; faith schools will continue to be able to teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith and parent’s will continue to have a right to withdraw their child.
The current statutory guidance for Relationships and Sex Education was introduced in 2000 and has become increasingly outdated as it fails to address the risks that today’s children experience including cyberbullying, ‘sexting’ and staying safe online.
From 2019, lessons will be expected to have an age-appropriate emphasis on what constitutes healthy relationships, as well as the dangers of sexting, online pornography and sexual harassment. A range of curriculum resources to help schools consider this can be found on Kelsi.
The amendments that the Government will table to the Children and Social Work Bill will also create a power enabling the Government to make regulations requiring PSHE to be taught in academies and schools maintained by the local authority, following further departmental work and consultation on subject content.
The announcement follows the launch of a new Government drive on internet safety.