After years of consultation, the new RSE guidance is finally statutory. The guidance details learning outcomes but leaves the decision of what materials and approaches are used to the school itself. We encourage you to support your local school as they implement the changes. Many teachers feel unprepared and ill-equipped so if you know of a local school in this position, please do tell them about us as we may be able to help with teacher training.
The guidance acknowledges that ‘parents are the first teachers of their children’ and makes it clear that schools must consult with parents and communicate what will be taught and when. If you are a parent or carer, has your school been in touch about their RSE curriculum yet? It’s a great opportunity to have your voice heard and make real impacts on the RSE your child experiences.
We have found that going to a school in a spirit of collaboration and support is the best way to make a positive impact. Even if there are significant differences between a school's suggested approach and your parent’s preferred approach, finding common ground and building from there seems to be the most effective way to make positive change. We’d love to hear how you get on!
Parents’ rights to withdraw their child from sex education
Some of you have been in touch, concerned about the change to parents’ rights in regards to RSE, so here’s a summary of the change.
Parents’ right to withdraw a child from sex education does still stand but, from three terms before their 16th birthday, a child can overrule their parents’ wishes and receive sex education for one of those three terms. As 16 is the age of consent, the government believes that a child should have the opportunity to access sex education before this age.
Parents cannot, however, withdraw their child from relationships or health education. Withdrawal from sex education only may become more complex once a child is in secondary school, as aspects of RSE are likely to be integrated into a single topic so that young people learn about sex in the context of relationships – which we believe is important.