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Watershed vote on RSE

27 March 2019

The Sex Education Forum has welcomed a ‘watershed’ vote on Relationships and Sex Education guidance for schools. The vote took place in the Commons on 27 March 2019 and resulted in 538 'AYES' and 21 'NOES' (UK), and 482 'AYES' and 14 'NOES' (MPs representing constituencies in England), providing overwhelming support for the updates. 

Lynnette Smith, Chair of the Sex Education Forum, said:

“The vote in Parliament supporting updated Relationships and Sex Education is a watershed moment – MPs from different political parties have spoken with one voice, reflecting the calls from young people and families for up-to-date and inclusive lessons. The new guidance paves the way for schools and parents to work together, and pupils can now expect an up-to-date curriculum that reflects the diversity of our communities.  

“Until now, the lack of direction given to schools meant that some children were missing out on vital information about growing up, relationships, consent, the law and sexual health.  

“There is much to do to support all schools in England preparing for the new requirements. Top of this list is training to build a workforce confident to teach high quality RSE.  From a situation where RSE has been very patchy we can start to expect more consistency. The benefits for children and young people’s wellbeing are priceless.“

Other information:
  • The Sex Education Forum is hopeful the vote will move the guidance closer to completion, enabling schools to get on with their preparations for delivering up-to-date and inclusive RSE. 
  • Our #RSEtogether campaign recognises the vital importance of schools and parents working together in this process, and that the majority of parents support all schools delivering RSE
  • Statutory RSE applies to ALL schools in England – that includes independent schools, special schools, academies and free schools. At two separate conferences this week, the Sex Education Forum is providing bespoke support for independent schools and supporting school’s to meet the needs of disabled children and those with SEN.
  • A motion to approve the guidance is scheduled for debate in the House of Lords on 24 April 2019 - this is the final step in approving the new guidance and regulations. We have produced a briefing for Peers which can be downloaded from the link below.