What you can do
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Relationships and Sex Education

A vital opportunity

Earlier This Year

In 2017, 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 It contains no mention of LGBT people or relationships and is now outdated.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.

Thank you for those who took part in the consultation. This is a vital opportunity to ensure that all schools are required to teach LGBT-inclusive RSE and PSHE moving forwards. We appreciate you using your voice to make a difference.

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

What's next

  • The Department for Education closed its public consultation on relationships and sex education on 12 February, but will continue to work with expert organisations (including Stonewall) in the run up to publication of draft regulations and guidance.
  • Once drafted, these guidelines and regulations may be put out for another public consultation. Once that is closed, alterations will be made and it will then be presented in Parliament. 
  • Final statutory guidance will then be published. Schools will have to use this to deliver relationships education in primary, and relationships and sex education in secondary schools from September 2019.
  • The Government has also committed to ensuring that content stays relevant by regularly reviewing the guidance within three years of its publication, with a regular timetable put in place after that.
  • Stonewall will continue to work with the Department for Education, and schools, to make sure that all young people get the LGBT inclusive RSE they deserve.