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#2 What does the law say about teaching RSE?

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduces new legislation on relationships and sex education in schools. The new requirements begin in September 2019. 

Currently maintained secondary schools have to provide sex education but the only topic they must cover is HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Maintained primary and secondary schools must follow the National Curriculum, which includes some aspects of sex education in Science.

All state-funded schools must pay due regard to the Government guidance on Sex and Relationships Education, currently this is the DfEE guidance published in 2000. The guidance recommends that schools teach the broader subject of sex and relationships education - and advise that this be taught as part of personal, social and health education (PSHE).
Maintained primary and secondary schools must also have an up-to-date policy that describes the content and organisation of SRE taught outside the Science Curriculum. If the decision is taken not to teach SRE outside the Science Curriculum this should also be documented in the policy.

It is the responsibility of the schools governing body to ensure that the policy is developed and made available to parents. Parents have a right to withdraw their children from SRE taught outside the Science Curriculum.

For further information and reference:

Education Act 1996
Learning and Skills Act 2000
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (2000)
National Curriculum