SRE to be statutory in all schools

Posted on 01 March 2017

Relationships education to be statutory in all schools from September 2019 – with plans to also make PSHE statutory following further consultation.

Today the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, announced that relationships and sex education will be made statutory in all primary and secondary schools, with schools required to teach this content from September 2019.

  • All primary schools in England to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships education’
  • All secondary schools in England to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships and sex education’

The amendments that the Government will table to the Children and Social Work Bill will also create a power enabling the Government to make regulations requiring PSHE to be taught in academies and schools maintained by the local authority, following further departmental work and consultation on subject content.

The announcement followed this week’s earlier launch of a new Government drive on internet safety.

An important step for safeguarding children online

Childnet has been championing this issue in relation to how we empower children to use technology safely, responsibly and positively, including providing written evidence to the Education Committee Inquiry in June 2014 calling for updated statutory guidance for SRE and for PSHE to be made statutory.

As Childnet CEO Will Gardner explains:

“At Childnet we have been an active in calling for statutory SRE and PSHE as we know that educating children and young people on these subjects plays a crucial role in safeguarding them online. The existing SRE guidance was introduced 2000 and fails to address risks presented by the internet, including cyberbullying, sexting and online pornography. Since our charity launched in 1995 we have continued to support schools in delivering high quality and age appropriate education on these issues, and we are delighted that the Government is formally recognising the need to educate children and young people on these issues. We look forward to contributing to the development of age-appropriate subject content and support for schools, to help ensure that all children are empowered to use technology safely and positively.”

Supporting schools to implement effective and age appropriate RSE and PSHE

Explore Childnet’s key resources that help schools deliver effective SRE and PSHE in relation to digital technology:

  • Crossing the Line: A practical online safety PSHE toolkit with films and lesson plans to explore cyberbullying, sexting, peer pressure and self-esteem with pupils aged 11-14 years old. At present we are running focus groups in schools as we prepare to extend this toolkit to include issues such as healthy digital relationships and online pornography.
  • Trust Me: teaching resource to support primary and secondary school teachers in exploring critical thinking online.
  • Picture This: a drama activity exploring sexting.
  • STAR Toolkit: teaching activities to help educators explore e-safety with young people with autism spectrum disorders and other special educational needs in Key Stage 3 and 4.
  • The Adventures of Kara, Winston and the SMART Crew: a series of films for primary school children about staying safe online.
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