1st March, 2017

FPA is delighted that the Secretary of State, Justine Greening, has announced today (Wednesday 1 March) that, in England, every child from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships and, later, about sex.

Children and young people will receive relationships education in primary school and relationships and sex education (RSE) at secondary school. This new legislation should benefit children and young people irrespective of the type of school they attend, as it will cover all schools in England, including academies and independents.

FPA has long campaigned for comprehensive, statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) to be taught in all schools from primary age, with a wealth of evidence demonstrating the benefits.

Natika H Halil, Chief Executive of FPA said:

“Statutory status, from primary school, is an incredibly positive step forward in ensuring that all children and young people are able to benefit from good relationships and sex education.

“The benefits of RSE have been demonstrated on multiple occasions, through academic research, Select Committee inquiries and by the testimonies we hear from young people and parents themselves. This decision by Justine Greening will contribute to keeping young people safe from harm and help to promote the attitudes, skills and knowledge young people need to have open, honest and fulfilling relationships in the future.

“The government have chosen to make a distinction between relationships education for primary schools, and relationships and sex education for secondary schools. While we agree that it is incredibly important that all content is age-appropriate, we hope that this separation does not mean that important lessons at primary school, such as those about puberty and the correct names for body parts, will not be required.

“We are proud to have worked with other dedicated campaigners through the Sex Education Forum and would like to thank the commitment from MPs across the House in bringing about this positive change. We look forward to contributing to the Department for Education’s programme of engagement to develop high quality curriculum content.

“We hope that today’s commitment will be supported in next week’s Budget. As the curriculum changes, schools will need to be supported through teacher training and access to high quality resources so that practitioners are confident in delivering inclusive, age-appropriate RSE lessons to children and young people of all ages. By allocating funding to RSE provision, the Government can ensure that the aims of this legislation are translated into action in schools.”


Notes to editors

Read the government's full written statement on relationships and sex education.

For more information on the benefits of good sex and relationships education (SRE), please see the Sex Education Forum’s briefing on SRE (PDF).

FPA is a leader in primary school relationships and sex (RSE) education, and offer expert training and resources. This includes Growing up with Yasmine and Tom, an innovative online programme designed to help teachers deliver high quality RSE for children aged 5-11.

SRE Myth Buster (click to open larger version in new window)

SRE Myth Buster - click to open larger version in new window