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Sex and Relationship Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL538, tabled on 20 January 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government how their forthcoming Relationships Education implementation guide will (1) clarify the importance of Relationships and Sex Education within Relationships Education, and (2) support schools to develop inclusive practice in this regard.

Answered on

3 February 2020

The new subjects of relationships education (for primary age pupils), relationships and sex education (for secondary age pupils) and health education (for all pupils in state-funded schools) will become compulsory in September 2020. Many schools are already teaching aspects of these subjects as part of their sex and relationship education provision or personal, social, health and economic education programme. Schools have flexibility to determine how to deliver the new content in the context of a broad and balanced curriculum.

The department is committed to supporting teachers to teach the new subjects with confidence, and to a high quality which is why we are developing a central programme of support for schools for these subjects, which will be available to all teachers from spring 2020.

Our programme of support will offer opportunities for teachers to improve subject knowledge, build confidence and access classroom resources. We will ensure that all of the department’s materials supporting implementation of the new subjects are inclusive, and recognise fully the need to disseminate the good practice in teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships that is seen in large numbers of our schools as well as the importance of reflecting the needs of pupils with a special educational need or disability when planning the curriculum for these subjects. Our budget this year of up to £6 million for implementing the new subjects will ensure that this support for teachers will be accessed through a new online service and will include an implementation guide. This will accompany the statutory guidance, case studies from other schools, access to quality assured resources and innovative materials to support staff training.

Training for teachers will also be available through existing regional networks, and we are working with expert organisations, schools and teachers to develop this package. The department is also working with ‘early adopter schools’, some of whom have chosen to start teaching some or all of the new content early, in order to support their journey, learn lessons and share good practice. Last year we held 4 national conferences for those schools who are ‘early adopter schools’.