Hopefully, you’ve been reading our series of blogs about the new guidance for statutory Relationships Education (RE), Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.
If not, do not worry, you can catch up with what has been posted so far here!
The key decisions on the guidance were informed by a thorough engagement process, including a public call for evidence that received over 23,000 responses from parents, young people, schools and experts and a public consultation where over 40,000 people contacted the Department for Education.
That is a lot of thoughts and opinions!
Trying to balance the needs of a diverse range of people will have required a level of compromise. Therefore, many people will not be 100% happy with the guidance and there are sure to be a few pitfalls, as well as a huge amount of pros.
Let’s have a look at some of the main GOOD POINTS of the guidance….
- The guidance has started many conversations within schools regarding the importance of RSE
It is a positive step that the guidance is due to be updated every 3 years, which sits in contrast with the last guidance being written in 2000 (that was ages ago!)
The guidance encourages RSE that is framed within the legal context and through a whole-school, rights-based approach
- Parents are no longer able to withdraw children from Relationships Education or Health education, so students will be sure to receive essential information about growing up
- The guidance has a huge focus on mental wellbeing, which will increase the understanding and awareness of mental health issues
- The language in the guidance is more focused on developing pupils’ positive personal attributes, such as kindness, rather than continually referencing restraint or self-control
The guidance promotes self-care and empowers young people to take charge of their own health
However, there are still a few pitfalls with the guidance that will hopefully be addressed in the future…
- The flexibility of the guidance gives room for different interpretations, which will reduce nationwide consistency
- There is very limited detail on how to put the guidance into practice, such as what to include or how to teach
- The guidance does not make it clear what a “good reason” would be for right to withdrawal
- Encouraging a “balanced debate” on “issues that are seen as contentious” could lead to some young people feeling like their identities are debatable
- The guidance repeatedly says to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 but does not give guidance on how to deal with potential tensions between the protected characteristics, such as between sexuality and religion
- There is little mention of pleasure, and there is still a focus on risk rather than sex positivity
However, despite some of the pitfalls, here at Loudmouth we are SUPER happy about the new guidance and the impact it will have on schools.
If you are feeling a little nervous about putting the guidance into practice, then we are here to help! Head over to our website and check out our Training Programmes as well as sign up to our E-Newsletter for information and support.
Finally, make sure you check out our information on the Roadmap to Statutory RSE, created by the Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association.