The petition of residents of the UK,
Declares that there are benefits of inclusive teaching of Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) to ensure that no child is left in ignorance; further that the Government should pledge that the updated SRE guidelines for mandatory SRE in all schools will be LGBT inclusive, which it is yet to do; and further that recent agreements made by the Government with a party which is not sympathetic to LGBT inclusive SRE following the general election on June 8th 2017, causes concern that education that is appropriate and LGBT inclusive, could be put at risk.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that LGBT inclusive SRE is to be granted mandatory status in all schools in order that future generations leave schools informed on such matters of equality and personal safety having been educated correctly about sexual relations.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Emma Hardy, Official Report, 20 February 2018; Vol. 636, c. 131.]
Observations from the Minister for School Standards (Nick Gibb):
The Government’s ambition is to support all young people to stay safe and prepare them for life in modern Britain. Young people, whatever their developing sexuality or identity, should feel that relationships education and relationships and sex education (RSE) are relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places a duty on the Secretary of State to make relationships education in primary and RSE in secondary compulsory through regulations. The Act also provides a power for the Secretary of State to make, following a thorough consideration of the subject, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) compulsory in all schools.
The Government have been conducting a thorough engagement process with a wide range of expert stakeholders, including those representing the interests of LGBT groups such as Stonewall and Terrence Higgins Trust, to help reach evidence-based decisions on what RSE may look like. This engagement also included a call for evidence, which invited views from teachers, parents, children and young people, and other interested organisations, on age-appropriate content in the updated curriculum subjects. This included mental wellbeing, staying safe online, and LGBT issues.
The call for evidence closed on 12 February 2018 and has provided the Government with a significant number of responses from a wide range of stakeholders. The findings gathered from the call for evidence will be combined with the evidence from discussions with stakeholders to support any decisions on RSE content. From this, the Government will develop the regulations and accompanying statutory guidance for these subjects and both will be subject to public consultation followed by a debate on the regulations in Parliament.
We expect RSE to be inclusive and to meet the needs of all young people. All schools will be required to have regard to the statutory guidance and ensure that RSE and relationships education is age-appropriate. Schools are also encouraged to develop their practice when teaching about LGBT and gender diversity, with the support of reputable specialist organisations.