Age-appropriate SRE in schools

Thank you for contacting me about personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), and relationships education and relationships and sex education (RSE) being included in the Children and Social Work Bill.

Schools should be providing all young people with a curriculum that equips them for success in adult life, and that also addresses modern issues like cyber-bullying and internet safety. Part of that responsibility is to ensure every child has access to relevant, factually accurate and age-appropriate PSHE and RSE.

I know that the Secretary of State is personally committed to ensuring that progress in improving the availability and quality of PSHE and RSE is made a priority. The Government has introduced new clauses to the Children and Social Work Bill at Committee Stage which would require regulations to be made to require all secondary schools in England to teach relationships and sex education (RSE) and would introduce a new subject, ‘relationships education’ to be taught in all primary schools. Renaming the secondary school subject ‘relationships and sex education’ places emphasis on the intrinsic importance of healthy relationships and would deliver sex education within this context. The focus of relationships education in primary schools will be on building healthy relationships and staying safe.

The Department for Education intends to engage with key groups to develop age-appropriate subject content that includes teaching on mental wellbeing, consent, resilience and keeping safe online. The clauses would continue to allow parents a right to withdraw their children from sex education and schools would be required to publish a clear statement of their policy and teaching content to ensure parents are engaged in the teaching throughout.

I am pleased that steps are being taken to ensure our children and young people leave school equipped with the information to stay safe and navigate becoming adults. I will follow this matter with great interest as the Children and Social Work Bill progresses through Parliament.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.