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Sex and relationships education to be made compulsory in all schools

Male and female symbols drawn using chalk on a chalkboard

Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced sex and relationships education will be made compulsory in all of England’s schools. Up until now, this has only been compulsory in council-run secondary schools.

The current statutory guidance for sex and relationships education was introduced in 2000, however times have changed and seventeen years later it is out of date; failing to address cyber bullying and ‘sexting’. With the emergence of new technology that is easily accessed staying safe online is a key priority for both schools and parents.


As part of the new move children as young as four in primary schools will be taught about safe and healthy relationships. While children in secondary schools will be taught in both sex and relationships.

“Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs of the local community; and, as now, faith schools will continue to be able to teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith.”

justine greening sex and relationship education

Ms Greening said: “Parents will continue to have a right to withdraw their children from sex education.”












The change makes the subject mandatory in all schools, including academies, independent schools and religious free schools and extends the subject to include relationships and modern phenomena such as internet porn and sexting.

One in four teenagers are ‘almost constantly’ online

Politicians, school leaders, parents, unions and campaigners have all welcomed the move which has been subject to years of campaigning.

Former education secretary Nicky Morgan had been preparing to change the curriculum before she was sacked from the post last July as part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “We welcome the announcements made today.”

“We have long advocated age-appropriate sex education and PSHE, for all pupils in all schools, to help prepare young people for the challenges they will encounter in their adult lives and the current challenges they face beyond the school gates.”

Sandra Horley, Chief Executive of the charity Refuge said the landmark decision could help reduce domestic violence for future generations. She said: “SRE provides young people with the knowledge they need to develop relationships based on equality and respect, how to recognise domestic violence, and how to seek support when needed.”

“We believe domestic violence incidences will fall if the next generation is equipped with this knowledge from a young age. Today is a great first step towards a better and safer future for young people.”

View the full written statement here Sex and Relationships Education



March 2, 2017