The government is currently consulting on significant changes to the teaching of the new Relationships Education (RE) curriculum in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum in all secondary schools in England.

We believe high-quality RE and RSE requires parental partnership, so we strongly encourage you to respond to the consultation.

We believe it is important to tell the government that:

(Click each sentence above for more on each issue.)

Consultation guide (step by step)

The following is a guide to inform responses to this consultation. Please answer questions in your own words. All questions (except the first) are optional, and you only have to answer questions that you want to answer. Please make sure to go to the end of the consultation and click submit.

You may particularly want to respond to questions on pages 4, 6, 9, and 12 of the consultation, which deal with the issues raised above.

Clicking the button below will open a new tab, taking you to the government consultation. Keep this window open and you can switch between the two as you go.

Even if you have just three minutes you can use the button above and click through to page 12, to tell the government that you disagree and that conversations about intimate issues deserve the opportunity of an intimate setting. Thank you.

Page 1 – Confidentiality

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The only required question is whether you would like your responses to be confidential.

Page 2 – Introductory Questions

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All questions on this page are optional, including name, email, religion, ethnicity, and in what capacity you are responding (eg parent, teacher, governor, etc).

Page 3 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Relationships Education (RE)

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The first two questions relate to the content of the relationships education described in paragraphs 50 – 57 of the draft guidance, including what children would be taught about the meaning of marriage and family. This education will be mandatory from 2020 in all schools in England. (You can view a summary of what pupils are expected to know by clicking here.)

The third question asks about the guidance on sex education in primary schools. You may particularly want to review paragraph 64, which affirms that in primary school, parents still have the final decision on where and when their child should receive sex education. 

Page 4 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)

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The first two questions ask about the content of the relationships and sex education. Please refer to the summary of what is proposed to be taught which can be found by clicking here.

The third question on this page provides an opportunity to respond to the government’s proposal to remove the full parental right of withdrawal from sex education.

Paragraph 43 notes that:

Once those discussions have taken place, except in exceptional circumstances, the school should respect the parents’ request to withdraw the child, up to and until three terms before the child turns 16.”

However, it would appear that what counts as exceptional circumstances” would be up to every head teacher; the guidance provides no guidance on what would constitute exceptional circumstances”.

You may wish to mark disagree” or strongly disagree” here if you feel that intimate conversations should still have the opportunity of an intimate setting and that the existing full parental right of withdrawal should be preserved.

Page 5 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Physical Health and Wellbeing

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This page asks about the content of the mandatory health education in both primary and secondary schools. Please refer to the summary of what is proposed to be taught by clicking here for primary schools and by clicking here for secondary schools.

You may wish to note the teaching that is proposed in this health education on puberty in primary schools and changing adolescent bodies in secondary school. For reference, there is no opt-out from health education for any type of school.

Page 6 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Engaging with Parents and the Wider Community

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This section is key and your opportunity to let the government know that:

Parents should know ahead of time, exactly what their children are learning, which means that schools should provide the material and details of the curriculum being used.

Schools should notify parents ahead of time if any external organisation will be doing any teaching and what exactly they will be teaching.

Page 7 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Delivery and Teaching Strategies

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Every child is unique and so every school is distinct. You may wish to use the question to affirm the vital importance of flexibility for schools in the delivery of this content and the importance of it being tailored to the cultural and religious backgrounds of pupils and wishes of their parents.

Page 8 – Draft Statutory Guidance – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

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As with the previous page, you may wish to affirm that schools require flexibility to tailor learning to their pupils and their parents specifically. 

However, this section also asks about the exceptional circumstances” veto provided to head teachers over the parents’ wishes – again without any guidance or definition on what those are.

Page 9 – Draft Statutory Guidance

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As there are no questions in the consultation specifically about paragraphs 18 – 25, which address several key issues, you may wish to comment in this section on:

  • How schools of a religious character (eg voluntary-aided and religious academies and free schools) would be able to reflect their core beliefs in the teaching of these subjects.
    • For example paragraph 20 observes: In schools with a religious character, the distinctive faith perspective on relationships may be taught” – but it makes no mention of schools being allowed (in RSE) to teach on issues of human sexuality from a religious perspective. You may wish to comment on this.
  • Paragraphs 22 and 23 talk about use of materials and so here you may wish to recommend: 
    • (Paragraph 22) Resources also are appropriate for the cultural and religious backgrounds of children; and
    • (Paragraph 23) Schools provide parents with all resources ahead of time.
  • You may wish to comment on the draft guidance’s recommended inclusion of LGBT content (Paragraph 33).

Page 10 – Financial Education

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If you wish you can comment on post-16 financial education provision here.

Page 11 – School Support

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This page asks about whether additional resources and materials will be required for schools, or whether existing resources are sufficient.

Page 12 – Draft Regulations

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This is the key opportunity to tell the government that conversations about intimate issues deserve the opportunity of an intimate setting. You may wish to strongly disagree with this question, particularly because: 

  • the government nowhere defines what the exceptional circumstances” are; and
  • the regulations don’t just effect those 15 and older (despite what the government says) but every child at every secondary school.

You can read the full regulations here. To view the actual wording the government is proposing adding to the Education Act 1996 click below:

Page 13 – Regulatory Impact Assessment

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Page 14 – Almost done…

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Please remember to click "submit" and enter your email if you want to receive a PDF copy of your submission.

Key documents

The following are the key documents related to the consultation. The first four are two-page summaries of the proposed content for each of the mandatory subjects copied and pasted directly from the draft guidance.

The remaining ones are the official government documents.