• From September 2020, all primary schools in England will be required to teach Relationships Education, all secondary schools in England will be required to teach Relationships and Sex Education, and all schools in England will be required to teach Health Education.
• The Government continues to recommend that primary schools deliver Sex Education, too (though this not compulsory).
• Schools can begin teaching these statutory subjects in accordance with the new guidance before September 2020, if they wish.
• Schools will also be required to have an up-to-date policy for teaching Relationships Education/Relationships and Sex Education which is available to parents and carers.
• At primary level, the guidance states that all primary schools should teach about different families, which ‘can include for example, single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents’ etc.
• At secondary level, the guidance states that ‘sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored at a timely point’ and that ‘there should be an equal opportunity to explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships’ which ‘should be integrated appropriately into the RSE programme, rather than addressed separately or in only one lesson’.
• More broadly, the guidance states that ‘schools should ensure that the needs of all pupils are appropriately met, and that all pupils understand the importance of equality and respect. Schools must ensure that they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010 under which sexual orientation and gender reassignment are amongst the protected characteristics.
• The guidance states that in all schools ‘teaching should reflect the law...as it applies to relationships’. This includes the laws on marriage and civil partnerships (Stonewall, 2019).
Recently we have seen protests mobilise some parents and carers to oppose the new regulations for teaching Relationships and Sex Education (which were passed by the Commons on 27.03.19), and also to oppose schools’ efforts to teach about LGBT people more broadly through the No Outsiders programme.
At Courageous Leaders, we believe that it is vital that LGBT people, families and relationships are included throughout the teaching of RSE. We also recognise that Schools have a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010, not to discriminate against pupils who are (or are perceived to be) LGBT, or those who have LGBT parents. Schools also have a legal duty to protect LGBT teachers from discrimination in the workplace.
It is our view that inclusive Relationships and sex Education helps all children and young people grow up with respectful attitudes towards people who are different to them, helping to proactively tackle the prejudice based bullying that remains all too common in some of our schools. Inclusive RSE also supports children and young people to know when to ask for help, and overall, helps to create a safe and supportive environment for all children, young people and adults.