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More than half of students believe more time should be spent on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), survey reveals

Many young people in England believe that there are gaps in sex education. In our response to the recent government consultation relating to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), we laid out our recommendations. 

52 per cent of students believe that more time should be spent on RSE in schools and 34 per cent revealed that they wanted the subject to be treated more seriously, according to a poll of one thousand 16- and 17-year-olds in England, carried out on behalf of the Sex Education Forum and the National Education Union (NEU). Pupils identified pornography, sexual consent, LGBT issues and online grooming as key topics which were absent from RSE lessons in many schools.

The government consultation

RSE will become compulsory for all secondary schools in 2020. The government recently sought expert views on the changes from a range of organisations - here’s what Parent Zone recommended, based on our research in this area and the feedback we’ve received from parents:

  • Sex education should be mandatory in both primary and secondary schools, with appropriate support from the government and organisations to teachers and parents.  

  • The parental right to withdraw their child from these classes should be replaced with increased resources for schools to ensure parents have the knowledge and confidence to understand the complex links between sex, relationships and the online world.

  • Schools must have an up-to-date policy on RSE, RE and HE which is made available to parents and others to help parents understand the necessity of sex education, reducing the likelihood of them withdrawing their child.

  • If schools, working in partnership with parents, provide children with sex education then children will not need to turn to the internet for answers or remain uneducated about sex.

The consultation closed on November 7 and the government expects that regulations will be laid in the House, alongside final draft guidance, allowing for a full debate in Parliament in the first half of 2019. The final statutory guidance will be published once the regulations have been passed.

Read Parent Zone’s full response to the government consultation on relationships education in the attachment below.