Draft Guidance for Relationship and Sex Education in Schools Revealed

Following a four month consultation, the government have now revealed the draft regulations and draft guidance for the teaching of relationship and sex education (RSE) from September 2020.

If carried, the regulations and guidance will apply to all schools providing RSE although academies and free schools (which don’t follow the National Curriculum) do not have to provide RSE.

Why the Changes to Relationship and Sex Education

With current legislation over 20 years old, there were concerns from many organisations that children were not being educated about modern RSE topics such as sexting and meeting people online.

This was putting them at risk of sexual abuse and being exploited online.

Some of the evidence supporting the need to change, included:

  • A YouGov poll showing that 91% of parents believed all children needed PSHE lessons to learn about the risks of sexting, meeting strangers online and other issues.
  • A Barnardo’s poll showing that 74% of 11 to 15 year olds believed they would be safer if they took age appropriate classes in RSE.
  • Teachers unions calling for RSE to be made mandatory.

After receiving letters from the Chairs of five Select Committees, the government laid an amendment to instruct the Secretary of State for Education to prepare new regulations for the statutory provision of relationship education in primary schools and relationship and sex education in secondary schools.

Regarding RSE, the Children and Social Act 2017 states that pupils should learn about:

  • Safety in forming and maintaining relationships.
  • The characteristics of healthy relationships.
  • How relationships may affect physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Act also states that the education should be appropriate having regard to the age and religious background of pupils.

Controversies with new RSE Guidance

There has been strong debate around making RSE compulsory with many people from religious, conservative backgrounds arguing that it gives power to the State to override parents’ wishes. Although parents will have the right to exclude children from RSE classes, head teachers can, under unspecified circumstances, overrule this. Older children can also defy their parents to opt in to classes.

Another area of controversy is teaching about same-sex relationships. This was brought to light when a number of parents from a mainly Muslim school in Birmingham withdrew their children from relationship equality classes with the local MP backing their action by citing the Children and Social Act’s provision for religious backgrounds. This prompted a backlash from the LGBTQ community, some of whom accused the parents of homophobia and of reviving the notorious Section 28. Some of the parents defended their actions by saying they were not rooted in homophobia but that their children were being confused by the programme material which was not age appropriate.

All 2020 Dreams Relationship and Sex Education workshops are designed to be age appropriate and we can also tailor education to take account of the needs of individual schools.

Our experienced facilitators will prioritise the safety and comfort of all students and will never expose them to information or material that is graphic or unsuitable for their age.

How 2020 Dreams can Help Schools Meet Their Statutory Responsibilities for Relationship and Sex Education

The draft guidance states that all school must produce a policy regarding their Relationship Education and Relationship and Sex Education provision.

2020 Dreams offers a wide range of courses in our Relationship and Sex Education section. Here is just a small selection:

  • STD Awareness
  • Puberty
  • Teenage Pregnancy
  • Sexuality & Making Better Decisions
  • Sexuality & Privacy Online
  • Contraception Awareness
  • Sexual Bullying & Inappropriate Behaviour
  • Peer Pressure (Saying ‘No!’)

Click the link for more information on our range of RSE workshops.

Other 2020 Dreams courses which relate to this topic include:

  • LGBT Awareness
  • Gender Equality

Click the link to access the full range of 2020 Dreams courses.

We recommend booking the courses that you need ahead of time so you can write a clear RSE policy and provide the evidence that you are meeting the statutory requirements.

Click here for the full draft guidelines for RSE

For more information on 2020 Dreams workshops, please contact us on 0800 471 4983 or hello@2020dreams.org.uk