Best Practice

The basis of good relationships and sex education

Pastoral issues PSHE
Lucy Emmerson considers the three key principles that should underpin statutory RSE

With the Children and Social Work Bill passing into law earlier this year, relationships and sex education (RSE) becomes a mandatory subject in all schools in England. But what exactly are schools being asked to teach? And how can schools ensure they are ready for the September 2019 start date?

The change in law is important because it applies to all schools – independent, academy, free, maintained, mainstream, and special. There is also a requirement for primary schools to provide relationships education.

The new legislation places RSE in the basic curriculum, as opposed to the national curriculum. Therefore there is unlikely to be anything as detailed as a Programme of Study, but the government will issue statutory guidance in the coming months. There is also the potential for the broader subject of PSHE to become mandatory in a similar way. RSE is naturally tethered to PSHE because of the package of skills and inter-related themes that they both address.

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