Opinion: Relationship education continues to headline

PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 August 2019

Cllr Ketan Sheth supports new relationship education.

Cllr Ketan Sheth supports new relationship education.


Schools are out for summer, but relationship education continues to headline: it even made it to Brent’s last full council meeting.

So let's look at these headlines. Firstly, from September 2020, all pupils will undertake compulsory health education, which has a strong focus on mental wellbeing, as well as a reformed relationships education curriculum for primary schools, and relationships and sex education in secondary.

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These changes have gained widespread public attention due to parental protests at schools in parts of England regarding the current curriculum, and not the proposed changes.

Several myths are circulating about the 2020 changes. Myth #1 is that schools will be required to teach values contradictory to some religious beliefs. This is not the case. Schools are required to comply with the Equality Act, which means delivering equality of opportunity for all and fostering good relations between people who share lifestyle characteristics and people who do not.

Myth #2 is that these changes compromise parents' ability to educate their children according to their own religious, cultural and/or philosophical beliefs. But how this curriculum will be taught is a decision for individual schools. Governing bodies, which include parent governors, will work with their schools to deliver the most age-appropriate elements of the new curriculum to the pupils. This will ensure they're supported to grow up healthier and happier, and are prepared for the opportunities and challenges of an ever more complex world, both on and offline, without prejudice and in harmony.

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