After a long wait, the Government finally announced its plans today with regards to the updated sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools.
The new draft guidance says that health education and a new reformed Relationships Education in primary school and Relationships and Sex Education in secondary school will become compulsory in all schools across the country from September 2020.
The new guidance has been developed in response to a national call for evidence earlier this year and includes topics like mental wellbeing, consent, keeping safe online, physical health and fitness and LGBT issues.
Many of today’s problems did not exist when we last gave schools guidance on how to teach Relationships and Sex Education 18 years ago. The action we’re taking is important to help support teachers and schools design a curriculum that will enrich their pupils in an age appropriate way.
Education Secretary, Damian Hinds
There will now be a 12-week consultation to identify and develop on the content and how the subjects are taught.
PressMum writer, Kerry Cabbin has been teaching sex education in schools for over twenty years, she said:
‘It is great to see the Government moving forward with their commitment to improving sex and relationships education for children and young people. The subjects and topics mentioned are relevant and important for our children and young people to learn about.
What schools now need, as well as curriculum content guidance and training for teachers is a commitment to the timetable. Many schools differ with the amount of time allocated to covering subjects such as PSHE and SRE and we need to ensure that students get a reasonable amount of time to explore these important life lessons, 15mins of tutor time or one drop-down day a year, per year group, would not be quality or effective.’
Under the updated guidance, teachers will talk to primary school pupils in an age-appropriate way about the features of healthy friendships, family relationships and other relationships they are likely to encounter.
At secondary school, teachers will build on the foundation of Relationships Education in primary and, at the appropriate time, extend teaching to include intimate relationships as well.
At both primary and secondary, pupils will learn about staying safe online – covering aspects such as: how to use technology safely, responsibly and respectfully, how to keep personal information private and aims help young people navigate the virtual world, challenge harmful content and balance online and offline worlds.
As well as teaching about the benefits of healthy eating and keeping fit, the new compulsory health education will include content on the prevention of health problems.
It will help support the development of qualities such as confidence, resilience, self-respect and self-control. Good quality education on wider social and economic issues will continue to be taught in schools across the country through PSHE or other subjects, for example teaching about financial issues through maths and citizenship.