What you can do
Group of school children

Relationships and Sex Education – Have your say

A vital opportunity

We have until 12 February to have our say

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Where we are now

Earlier this year, the Government announced that relationships education would be made compulsory in every English primary school, and relationships and sex education (RSE) would be made compulsory in every English secondary school, from 2019.

It pledged to update the statutory guidance for teaching RSE, which was last updated 17 years ago, prior to the repeal of Section 28. It contains no mention of LGBT people or relationships and is now outdated. Our School Report 2017 has since shown that a minority of schools are now teaching LGBT-inclusive RSE.

The Government also pledged to consult on whether Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) should be made statutory, which Stonewall strongly supports.

This is a vital opportunity to ensure that all schools are required to teach LGBT-inclusive RSE and PSHE moving forwards.

The Government is now asking young people and adults across England what they think should be taught in RSE and PSHE.

Whether you’re a young person, a teacher or a parent, now is the chance to #ComeOutForLGBT young people and have your say. 

What we are calling for

Stonewall is calling for the updated guidance to require all schools to ensure that all their teaching is LGBT-inclusive, and to teach about LGBT issues, including:

  • Different types of families (including same-sex parents) and tackling gender stereotypes in primary relationships education
  • Issues facing LGBT young people in relation to topics such as healthy relationships, safe sex, consent, abuse and online safety in secondary RSE

Stonewall is also calling for the Government to introduce statutory PSHE that is inclusive of LGBT issues. Schools that deliver high-quality, LGBT-inclusive PSHE will:

  • Teach about homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, including why it’s wrong and how to tackle it, as part of teaching on prejudice, discrimination and bullying
  • Include teaching on gender stereotyping, gender identity and what it means to be trans, as part of teaching on gender
  • Include the specific online needs, experiences and challenges facing LGBT young people in work about online safety
  • Signpost to LGBT-specific support services and resources in teaching about mental health and wellbeing

Tips for responding to the consultation

1. Use your experiences: If you’re a young person, you can say what have you have found helpful or unhelpful in your RSE and PSHE. Are there any subject areas that you think should be taught, but that you have missed out on? Likewise, if you’re a parent or carer, what have your children benefited from learning about, and what would you like them to be taught?

2. Get others involved: If you’re a teacher, you can ask fellow teachers and your students what they think should be taught in RSE and PSHE – the PSHE Association have developed a lesson plan for secondary schools to help teachers gather students’ views.

3. Use the evidence: Stonewall’s School Report 2017 contains key statistics and testimonies from LGBT young people about LGBT-inclusive RSE and anti-LGBT bullying in our schools.

4. Take your time: This is the main opportunity to have your say on what schools should be teaching in RSE, so there’s no need to rush. You can always save your submission and come back to it before submitting it.

5. Keep it concise: The Department for Education will only be able to read the first 250 words of your answer for each question, so make sure you focus on the key points you want to make.

Brook has created a guide for young people to help them respond the consultation, and FPA has created a guide for parents and carers to do the same.