Age-appropriate education about relationships is the right of every child. We think Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) should be taught in all state-funded schools, including faith schools.
What’s the problem?
Under the recently passed Children and Social Work Bill, RSE will be mandatory in all English schools. But the Government has also said that faith schools can "teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith", excluding key information for example about LGBT issues or contraceptives.
In addition, parents will still be able to opt their children out of RSE classes. This will leave behind children from conservative religious backgrounds, who most need impartial, appropriate education in this area.
What are we doing?
In addition to supporting the Sex Education Forum through formal affiliation, we've been lobbying key influencers and the Government to make sex education statutory. This was achieved in 2017 when relationships and sex education (RSE) became statutory in all schools, including those with faith-based ethos.
However, we remain concerned that faith schools will continue to be able to "teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith" and that parents will continue to have a right to withdraw their children. We are now campaigning to ensure that all children, irrespective of their religious or cultural background or the type of school they attend, will be entitled to the same protection from harm that balanced and accurate SRE offers.
In 2018 we responded to a government consultation on Changes to the teaching of Sex & Relationship Education and PSHE, saying that religious influence must not allow children's education to be distorted or diminished.
What you can do:
Respond to the consultation
The Government is consulting on guidance for making sure all English state schools teach relationship & sex education (RSE). This will include the extent to which faith schools can make RSE conform to their religious ethos.
Report a concern
If you have concerns about religious bias undermining relationship and sex education (RSE) in your school, you can speak to the school, follow their complaints procedure or get in touch.
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