What is the context? Statutory Relationships and Health Education for all schools comes into force in September 2020. Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will be statutory in all secondary schools.
The government’s guidance on Relationships Education in primary schools says that schools must teach about different types of families. The guidance uses LGBT parents as one example of a family type, but fails to clarify that there is a requirement for primary schools to teach that some children are growing up with same-sex parents.
ASCL position: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), including Relationships Health and Sex Education (RSE), is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. PSHE (including RSE) should be a statutory, but not prescriptive, part of children’s learning.
It is right that, from September 2020, there will be a requirement for all children to receive Relationship Education and, in secondary schools, Sex Education. We welcome the flexibility for schools to deliver these subjects, which meets the needs of all their communities. We consider it unnecessary for the government to provide standardised frameworks or programmes of study.
ASCL calls urgently for a clear statement from government that, within Relationships Education in primary schools, children must be taught that there are many types of family, including those with LGBT parents.
Why are we saying it? School leaders must not be used as a shield by the government on this particularly emotive issue. By just including LGBT families as an ‘example’ of the different types of family primary schools might talk about, it becomes an individual headteacher’s decision whether or not to use that particular example.
Government needs to step in and provide clarity by making it clear that primary schools must talk about LGBT families. This will help create an environment where all children feel acceptance and a sense of belonging, and take some of the pressure away from individual headteachers.