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Abortion: Health Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 179678, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169074 and the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169981, on Abortion: Health Education, and with reference to the endorsement by Public Health England of the Abortion and Abortion Care Fact Sheet for use in schools, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on ensuring that the school curriculum (a) equally respects the views of people opposed to abortion and (b) educates pupils on alternatives to abortion.

Answered on

19 April 2021

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department’s agenda.

The statutory guidance on the new curriculum for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education, which came into force in September 2020, makes clear that by the end of secondary education young people should know the facts relating to pregnancy. It states that there should be medically and legally impartial information. Pupils should be made aware of the relevant legal provisions when particular topics are being taught, including abortion. It is for schools to decide how best to comply with this in order to meet the needs of their pupils. To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence, the Department has produced RSHE Teacher Training Modules which are available for all schools on GOV.UK. The ‘Intimate and sexual relationships including sexual health’ teacher training module covers pregnancy specifically. Each training module covers safeguarding to make sure teachers, pastoral staff and the designated safeguarding lead are equipped to deal with sensitive discussions and potential disclosures.