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Sex education to be made compulsory in all secondary schools in England

When Parent Zone set up its sister site Parent Info in 2015, its aim was to fill the needs of parents and carers for expert advice on sex and relationships and related issues faced by children and young people in the digital age. We welcome today's news that sex and relationships education is to be made compulsory in all secondary schools in England. By Gary Crossing


Sex education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England, the Education Secretary Justine Greening has confirmed.

The Children and Social Work bill is to be amended, making it a requirement that all secondary schools in the country teach relationships and sex education (RSE), which is being changed from SRE to 'emphasise the central importance of healthy relationships.'

The amendments will also allow the government to 'make regulations requiring personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to be taught in all schools in England - primary and secondary, maintained and academy - in future.'

Parent Zone's sister site Parent Info was launched in 2015 specifically to fill the need of parents and carers for expert advice on sex and relationships and other topics that affect their children's wellbeing and resilience.

Vicki Shotbolt, CEO and Founder of Parent Zone, says:

'Sex and relationship education has never been more important than it is now for children growing up in a digital age. Parents are facing ever more challenging conversations with children and they need all the support they can get to ensure that children have the knowledge and support they need.

'Parents tell us that they find talking to their children about subjects like pornography, unhealthy relationships and abuse, incredibly challenging, particularly when their children are young.

'That's why we created Parent Info to provide expert information to parents about all of these topics. We know that many schools, including our Digital School Members, are already do a great job of teaching children about sex and relationships but this new announcement will mean that parents can feel more confident that their children will have an opportunity to explore these issues through high quality teaching.' 

The government has proposed the introduction of the new subject of ‘relationships education’ in primary school and renaming the secondary school subject RSE.

The focus in primary school will be on building healthy relationships and staying safe, according to a government statement.

The government said that it expects to see 'children and young people being taught this new curriculum in schools as soon as September 2019.'

At the moment sex education is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools but not academies and free schools – which make up about two thirds of all secondaries.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

'RSE and PSHE teach children and young people how to stay safe and healthy, and how to negotiate some of the personal and social challenges they will face growing up and as adults. These subjects form part of the building blocks young people need to thrive in modern Britain. At the moment, too many young people feel they don’t have the RSE they need to stay safe and navigate becoming an adult.

'It is time to make this change to ensure all children and young people have access to these subjects and to update the current statutory guidance for RSE which was introduced nearly 20 years ago, in 2000. We need high-quality, age-appropriate content that relates to the modern world, addressing issues like cyber bullying, ‘sexting’ and internet safety.

'We will now begin a review and gather expert opinions to ensure these subjects really have a positive impact on young people.'


Read the full government statement.

Sex education in schools: a parent’s guide