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New RSE guidance puts more focus on mental wellbeing, online safety and LGBT+ issues

This week, the Department for Education published new guidelines for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) which will become compulsory in schools from September 2020.

The new curriculum will put more focus on teaching children about online safety, mental and physical wellbeing, LGBT+ issues and consent. In addition, secondary school RSE will address female genital mutilation (FGM) and ensure that children know that it is against the law.

"Almost twenty years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on," said education secretary Damian Hinds. "It [the curriculum] will help children learn how to look after themselves, physically and mentally, and the importance of getting away from the screen and the headphones. And it can help young people be resilient as they chart a course through an ever more complex world."

Although we welcome the new guidelines and view them as a positive step forward, there are some important points Parent Zone highlighted within the government consultation back in November 2018 that we would have liked to have seen addressed. Two of the main ones are that we believe sex education should be mandatory in both primary and secondary schools and the parental right to withdraw their child from RSE 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.

Read Parent Zone’s full response to the November 2018 government consultation on relationships education in the attachment below.