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Personal Social and Health Education

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether education about homosexual relationships is a compulsory part of the school curriculum for (a) primary school and (b) secondary school pupils. (304224)

Under existing legislation, secondary schools are required by law to provide sex education, but there is no requirement for primary schools to provide sex education. Both primary and secondary schools are also required to deliver the statutory science curriculum, which includes age-appropriate information on human biology. In addition we expect schools to provide a much broader programme of sex and relationships education (SRE) through well planned and non-statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. As part of this programme schools should teach about all types of relationships that exist within society, including homosexual relationships.

SRE should be taught gradually, so that learning can be built upon year-by-year in a way that is appropriate to the age and maturity of each child. For example, SRE in primary schools will address issues of differences and bullying.

We have announced our intention to legislate to make PSHE education, including SRE, a statutory subject within the national curriculum at key stages 1-4.

Provisions are included within the Children, Schools and Families Bill which will give effect to this change. Further information is available in the written ministerial statement by the Secretary of State on 5 November 2009, Official Report, columns 49-52WS.