12. What Does the Guidance Say About Religion?

What Does the New Relationships Education (RE), Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory Guidance Say About Religion?

Did you know that there are an estimated 4,200 religions in the world? That is a lot for any teacher to know about! So what does the new statutory guidance say teachers should cover around religion?

In all schools the religious background of all pupils must be considered when planning policy and content for RE, RSE and Health Education. 

The guidance states that schools must not unlawfully discriminate against pupils based on religion or belief, in order to comply with the Equality Act 2010, under which religion or belief are amongst the protected characteristics that also include age, sex, race, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership, or sexual orientation.

For faith schools, one of the main points to be aware of is that they can teach their distinctive faith perspective on relationships and a balanced debate may take place about issues that could be seen as contentious.

A balanced debate means addressing all sides.

The school may wish to reflect on faith teachings about certain topics as well as how their faith institutions may support people in matters of relationships and sex.

In all schools, teaching should reflect the law (including the Equality Act 2010) as it applies to relationships, so young people should clearly understand what the law allows and does not allow, and the wider legal implications of decisions they may make.

By the end of secondary school, young people should know how stereotypes, in particular those based on the protected characteristics, can cause damage. For example, how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice.

Extra tips/facts/ideas

Right then, we hope you’re feeling a little better on what the guidance says about religion.

Now before you go, we would LOVE to share with you a few more ideas, tips and information that might be useful:

Teaching Tolerance is a webinar series of resources to help teach religious education.

ChildLine provide support and advice on how to respond to religious bullying.

The new guidance includes links to resources for Catholic Schools .

We will be tackling other areas of the guidance in our series of blog posts which provide further support regarding the new guidance. Check them out on our website.

You can also check out our information on the Roadmap to Statutory RSE, created by the Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association.

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