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Human Papillomavirus: Curriculum

Question for Department for Education

UIN 14232, tabled on 11 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including education on the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the school curriculum, to (a) help tackle stigma and misconceptions, (b) improve knowledge of cervical screening and cervical cancer, and (c) ensure informed consent for the HPV vaccine.

Answered on

16 June 2021

Pupils need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal, and social lives in a positive way. That is why we have made health education compulsory in all state-funded schools in England alongside making relationships education for primary pupils and relationships and sex education for secondary pupils compulsory, collectively known as relationships, sex and health education (RSHE).

As part of the statutory curriculum at secondary school, pupils will be taught how the different sexually transmitted infections are transmitted, how risk can be reduced, and the importance of and facts about testing.

The Department has also published implementation guidance and teacher training modules covering all the RSHE topics to help schools develop their curricula and teach the subjects confidently and effectively: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. The module covering intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health, states specifically that pupils should be taught about the NHS human papillomavirus vaccine scheme and the protection it offers and links schools to the relevant content on the NHS website.

More generally, at primary school, pupils will be taught about the facts and science relating to immunisation and vaccination. This knowledge is developed at secondary level to include the prevention of infection, including the facts and science related to antibiotics, the immune system, how vaccines work and the need for booster jabs.

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