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Relationship and Sex Education

Volume 630: debated on Monday 6 November 2017

15. When she plans to begin public consultation on the provision of relationship and sex education guidance in schools. (901612)

We are pressing ahead with our engagement process with relevant groups and interested individuals. We will be including parliamentarians over the coming months, and we will also seek the views of young people and parents. As has just been announced, Ian Bauckham, the chief executive officer of the Tenax Schools Trust and an executive headteacher, will advise on this work. He has considerable experience that will help us to ensure that schools teach a quality curriculum. Of course, following the engagement, we will consult on draft regulations and guidance, and we will then have a debate and a vote on the regulations in Parliament.

I do not think that anybody in this place would disagree that the last couple of weeks have shown us the power of teaching our young people to respect each other and to treat each other with respect. With 25 sexual assaults reported in our schools every day, will the Secretary of State please fast-track the policy on what schools should do if a report is made to them? This was promised months and months ago, and it is now urgent. I have a case in my constituency, and I know of others—this is too important to wait.

We will issue interim guidance this term, but the hon. Lady is quite right that if we are to make a longer-term change in the sort of attitudes that drive unacceptable behaviour in workplaces, we have to make a start in schools, which is why we are now updating the relationship and sex education guidance for the first time since 2000. We all recognise the need and we will approach this responsibly.