To ask Her Majesty's Government how far in advance parents of pupils in schools in England must be consulted before the teaching of relationships education or relationships and sex education starts.
4 June 2020
We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. That is why we are making Relationships Education (RE) compulsory for primary school-age pupils, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for secondary school-age pupils and Health Education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools, from September 2020.
Ofsted’s school inspection handbook sets out that inspectors will consider the provision for RE and RSE and Health Education, as part of a wider judgment of pupils’ personal development.
To support schools in their preparations, the department is investing in a central support package to help all schools to increase the confidence and quality of their teaching practice. This includes developing a new online service featuring innovative training materials, case studies and support to access resources. This will cover all of the teaching and consultation requirements in the statutory guidance and will be available in the summer term, with additional content added in the following months.
The department has been working to assess the impact of COVID-19 on a school’s ability to discharge their duty relating to the implementation of these subjects. The department will provide an update in due course. Schools will be required to consult with parents when developing and reviewing their policies for RE (primary) and RSE (secondary), which will inform schools’ decisions on when and how certain content is covered. The statutory guidance sets out effective practice on parental engagement and we have published further advice for primary schools on engaging parents positively in the development of their RE policy, which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/engaging-parents-with-relationships-education-policy. In addition we have published leaflets for schools to provide to parents, which summarise the key changes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools.