Briefing to MPs on Relationships Education at primary school

 

Sex Education Forum Briefing

NC15 and NC16 Children and Social Work Bill

Statutory Relationships and Sex Education

 

We welcome the introduction of statutory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Relationships Education (RE), and the recognition that this education is a necessity and therefore should be a legal entitlement for all children and young people.

We also support NC16 and the opportunity it provides to introduce PSHE as a statutory subject at a later date.

We encourage all MPs to support amendments NC15 and NC16, but would ask you to seek reassurance and clarification on the content of Relationships Education in primary schools.

If passed, the legislation will create a new topic of “Relationships Education” for primary schools (rather than Relationships and Sex Education). This is despite widespread agreement that SRE / RSE is an appropriate topic across all ages, and is supported by schools and teachers, safeguarding bodies and faith organisations.

We therefore ask that you seek reassurance from the Government that the new topic of Relationships Education will include key information that supports the physical health, wellbeing and safety of primary-age children, specifically:

  • Correct names for sexual parts of the body1 and which parts of the body are private2

  • The difference between safe and unsafe touch3

  • How to recognise and report abuse4

  • Learning about puberty before its onset5

 

This content is essential to help children stay safe and healthy, and to prepare for the challenges they face throughout school and in adult life.

Evidence

 1 Ofsted reported ‘…younger pupils had not always learnt the correct names for sexual body parts or what kind of physical contact is acceptable and what is unacceptable.’ Not yet good enough. Personal Social and Health Education in Schools, 2012

2 NSPCC Talk Pants resources are aimed at 4-11 year olds and help children to identify which parts of the body are private

3 Sex Education Forum research found only 45% of found people had learnt about the difference between safe and unwanted touch with a parent or carer. Heads or Tails Survey, 2016

4 A Cochrane review concluded 'Children who are taught about preventinb sexual abuse at school are more likely than others to tell an adult if they had, or were actually experiencing seuxal abuse' School-based education programmes for the prevention of child sexual abuse, 2015

5Ofsted reported that ‘In primary schools … too much emphasis was placed on friendships and relationships, leaving pupils ill-prepared for physical and emotional changes during puberty’. Not yet good enough. Personal Social and Health Education in Schools, 2012