Best Practice

Teaching consent as part of statutory RSE

Young people are keen to explore what consent means for them in practice, including potential ‘grey areas’. Dr Elsie Whittington, who has helped develop new teaching resources to support consent education, discusses the challenges and opportunities for opening up the consent conversation as part of RSE

Consent is a key foundation for relationships and sex education (RSE) whether we are teaching early years, adolescents or adults. However, it can feel like a tricky topic to get right when we are teaching and talking about it with teenagers, many of whom are concerned about miscommunication and the law.

Consent has been on the educational agenda for a number for years, but increasingly those of us who research or provide external RSE in schools find that, as one sex educator from the charity Brook said: “Sometimes students are almost over-taught consent – they can parrot off what consent is, but they haven’t actually learned any of it for themselves.”

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