Education Secretary ‘considering’ statutory sex education

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The government is again reviewing whether to make inclusive sex and relationship education statutory in all schools, a minister has confirmed.

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan previously supported calls to make inclusive sex and relationship education (SRE) a statutory requirement in all schools, but failed to bring about reform, with rumours at the time that figures inside the Cabinet had intervened to block progress.

As Justine Greening took over as Education Secretary following the change in Prime Minister, she hinted that the issue was near the top of her “in tray”.

This week, junior Education Minister Lord Nash confirmed the issue was again under review.

The minister was responding to a written question from hereditary peer Lord Northbourne, who had asked “whether they plan to introduce legislation to require all schools, including academies, to provide high quality sex and relationship education as part of their syllabus”.

In response, Lord Nash wrote: “The Government is clear that all schools should make provision for high-quality sex and relationship education, which is a vital part of preparing young people for life in modern Britain.

“Academies, like maintained schools, must teach a broad and balanced curriculum and in respect of sex and relationship education, they must – under the terms of their funding agreement – have regard to the Secretary of State’s statutory Sex and Relationship Education guidance published in 2000.

“The issue of statutory personal, social, health and economic education and sex and relationship education was raised during the Education Select Committee session in September.

“The Secretary of State agreed that we need to look again at how schools deliver high-quality personal, social, health and economic education including sex and relationship education.

“The Government is considering all the options and will come to a view in due course.”

PinkNews Award winner Lord Black of Brentwood recently called for the Sex and Relationship Education guidance, which was published before the repeal of Section 28 and the invention of the smartphone, to be re-written for the modern age.