Earlier this week, the Department published guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education, for primary and secondary schools, which will come into effect from September 2020.

Education Secretary,Damian Hinds said:

“At the heart of preparing children for life in modern Britain is making sure that they understand the world they are growing up in. It is a world that is different from 20 years ago, when this guidance was last updated, and this is a significant step that will help young people to look after themselves and each other.

“A wide range of views were expressed during the public consultation, and I believe the guidance strikes the right balance. Our new guidance is clear that children should leave school having learnt about LGBT relationships.

“Children will of course find out about all sorts of things, including the diversity of our society, anyway – the question is where and how is it best to do so – in class, on the internet, or in the playground. I would strongly encourage schools to discuss with children in class that there are all sorts of different, strong and loving families, including families with same-sex parents, while they are at primary school.

“There is no reason why teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist cannot be done in a way that respects everyone.”

Whilst many schools already deliver much of this content, making these subjects compulsory is about ensuring that all children are equipped with knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for successful adult life.

Schools will be required to consult with parents when developing their new content and the guidance sets out good practice in parental involvement.

To help support school leaders with the consultation process, we have publishedguides for primary and secondary schools that you can share with parents. These will help you answer questions from parents about the subject content and their rights.

Effective consultation provides an opportunity for parents to input, ask questions and share concerns but it is for the school to decide the way forward.

Teaching relationships education and RSE from September 2019

A number of schools have already told us they intend to begin teaching the new content from September 2019 and we are working with those schools to support them. If you are intending to begin teaching RSE early and would like to sign up as an ‘early adopter’ in order to get more information and support, please doemail us.

One of the key things to consider is that the change in the parental right to withdraw does not come into effect until September 2020. Until then, schools must also have regard to the SRE (2000) guidance where applicable. The SRE (2000) guidance can be found here.

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