The Children and Social Work Act 2017 placed a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to make the new subjects of Relationships Education at primary and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at secondary mandatory. Parliament voted in support of the Government’s proposal that all primary schools would be required to teach Relationships Education.
The Government want to support all young people to stay safe and prepare for life in modern Britain by ensuring Relationships Education (Primary) is taught in all Primary Schools. This was based on the fact that children need more support whilst growing up in an increasingly complex and digital world.
Whilst the internet can be a positive influence in our lives, it does present significant challenges, particularly for young people. With the use of social media, cyber-bullying and the risk that children learn about relationships from untrustworthy sources – it was felt that young people need support to make the right decisions and keep themselves safe and happy. This evidence was supported by the many calls for compulsory SRE and/or PSHE from leading parent representative bodies, as well as leading education and safeguarding organisations, such as teaching unions and charities. These calls were supported by young people themselves.
The DfE have set out their reasons below:
“We are clear on the themes and issues schools should cover to achieve this. Relationships and RSE will be age-appropriate, build knowledge and life skills over time in a way that prepares pupils for issues they will soon face. The subjects will likely focus on:
- different types of relationships, including friendships, family relationships, dealing with strangers and, at secondary school, intimate relationships;
- how to recognise, understand and build healthy relationships, including self-respect and respect for others, commitment (including marriage and civil partnerships), boundaries and consent, tolerance, and how to manage conflict, and also how to recognise unhealthy relationships, including bullying, coercion and exploitation;
- healthy relationships and safety online, including use of social media, cyberbullying, sexting;
- how relationships may affect health and wellbeing, including the importance of good mental health and resilience”
We have subscribed to the Norfolk Educator Solutions scheme, which will cover the required elements of relationship education and will be taught from June 2021. A brief outline of what we will be covering is set out below. We have also attached links to the parent guides.