Developments with RSE and PSHE…

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Firstly, the name has changed – SRE – Sex and Relationships Education – will become RSE – Relationships and Sex Education or Relationships Education in Primary Schools emphasising the focus on healthy relationships.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduced a new legislation on relationships and sex education in schools.
Chapter 4, Section 34 introduces statutory ‘relationships and sex education’ across all secondary schools, including academies and independent schools; and statutory ‘relationships education’ across all primary schools.
Chapter 4, Section 35 gives the government the right to introduce statutory PSHE at a later date without passing new legislation.

What’s happening now?
1.The previous Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced on 19 December 2017, an eight week ‘call for evidence’ inviting views of teachers, parents and young people to help shape the first updating of relationships and sex education guidance since 2000. Damian Hinds has now taken over as the new Education Secretary and he will go ahead with plans.
2.The Department for Education will consult widely with the education and young people’s sectors in order to determine the content of the regulations and statutory guidance; and on whether to introduce PSHE as the framework within which RSE is delivered.
The Secretary of State will bring the regulations and guidance back to the House of Commons for its approval.

The Timetable
The Department for Education will draft regulations and guidance and will put them out for consultation.
2. Regulations and final draft guidance will be presented in Parliament, and final statutory guidance will be published – probably by September 2018.
3. Schools will be expected to deliver ‘RSE’ in secondary schools and ‘relationships education’ in Primary schools, in the academic year 2019/2020.
4. “The Government will commit to review the statutory guidance on RSE within three years of its publication, and to a regular timetable after that, that will balance continuity for schools with ensuring content is up to date.”*

•RSE falls within the scope of school inspection. Key elements are already covered in Ofsted’s school inspection handbook, and Her Majesty’s chief inspector will take full account of the new requirements in determining future school inspection arrangements’*
•Ofsted is already seeking to appoint an HMI lead for citizenship and PSHE, whose role will be to keep abreast of developments in this area and oversee the training of inspectors in light of the new expectations on schools*.
•Independent schools will be held to account through inspectors reporting against the independent school standards*.

Until then?
Currently, PSHE and SRE are not statutory subjects on the national curriculum. However, the national curriculum framework statutory guidance states that schools should make provision for PSHE and that secondary schools must teach SRE. Despite this, the only topic SRE must cover under legislation is HIV, AIDS and other STIs.

[Adapted from The Sex Education Forum/*Edward Timpson MP, Hansard, March 7th 2017]