On Thursday 27 April the Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent, becoming the Children and Social Work Act. The new Act includes legislation that makes relationships and sex education (RSE) statutory in all secondary schools, and ‘relationships education’ in all primary schools. The Act also gives the Government power to make PSHE education statutory in its entirety, pending the results of a consultation.
The Government plans to introduce statutory RSE and ‘relationships education’ – and potentially the whole of PSHE education – from September 2019 following a period of consultation. The Government is expected to launch consultations soon after the election, to determine regulations and guidance regarding RSE (and ‘relationships education’) and the status and content of PSHE education more broadly.
These historic changes follow Education Secretary Justine Greening’s announcement on 1 March setting out her intention to strengthen this area of the curriculum, primarily with a view to keeping children and young people safe from harm.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“This marks a significant step towards what we’ve been campaigning on for years – statutory PSHE education that keeps pupils safe, healthy and prepared for life and work beyond school. Statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) is very welcome, but we will make the case during consultation that PSHE education should be statutory in its entirety, not just covering relationships but the broad range of linked areas that fall within the subject – including alcohol and drugs, media literacy, mental health, physical health, online safety, tackling extremism and developing employability skills. We therefore welcome the opportunity to engage with our members and partners to make this case once the consultation is launched”