The government is set to announce the introduction of compulsory sex and relationships education for all UK secondary schools.
Sex education is currently only compulsory in local authority-run schools, but there are no measures in place to ensure pupils at academies, free schools and grammar schools receive sex education. Following a huge public response, with figures showing that the vast majority of parents want compulsory sex education as a part of the national curriculum, an amendment has now been made to the children and social care bill, which will introduce relationships education to the national curriculum and require all secondary schools to provide compulsory sex education.
The amendment stated: “For the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, the secretary of state must, by regulations, make relationships education a statutory component of the national curriculum within the meaning of part 6 of the Education Act 2002.”
There is an understanding that the new sex and relationships curriculum will include a much greater emphasis on online behaviour, such as sexting—an increasingly problematic area that is not acknowledged in the current curriculum. The current sex and relationships curriculum was created before the rise of social media and smartphones, in the year 2000.
The bill does not only affect secondary school pupils. Every child will now receive age-appropriate relationships education from the age of four upwards.