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Consultation on Wales’ new Relationship and Sexuality Education guidance

20 February 2019

An image of children with a poster about sexuality Education and equality.

A consultation on the revised ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Guidance’ for schools in Wales has been launched.

Professor Emma Renold chaired the Minister for Education (Wales) Expert Panel, which drew upon international research evidence to identify issues and opportunities which could inform decisions around supporting the teaching profession to deliver high quality SRE in schools more effectively.

The new draft guidance has been developed in line with the panel’s recommendations and will support schools in implementing a ‘whole school approach’ to RSE; taking into account curriculum, wider school policies, external sources of support and case studies demonstrating best practice.

A name change from Sex and Relationship Education to Relationships and Sexuality Education has also been actioned through the draft guidance.

From 2022, a new inclusive, holistic and empowering Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) will be embedded in the Welsh curriculum on a statutory basis.

Expert Panel chair Professor Emma Renold, based in the School of Social Sciences, said: “I am delighted to hear that the Welsh Government has launched this consultation, and that the revised draft guidance for schools has been informed by and is embracing the expert panel’s evidence-based vision to transform Relationships and Sexuality Education in Wales.

“Embedded in a whole school approach and underpinned by the core principles of rights, equity, inclusivity, protection and empowerment, this guidance, if accompanied by effective professional development, and the time to deliver, has the potential to ensure a relevant, engaging and high quality RSE that meets the needs of all children and young people.”

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “Our new guidance will help schools prepare for the changes to how RSE will be taught in our new curriculum by providing them with additional advice and support regarding implementing a whole school approach to RSE.

“It is the lifelong relationships we forge in our early years, such as family and friends, which can provide the stability, security and support needed to maintain well-being. I strongly encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation, to make sure that we get RSE right for our pupils.”

The expert panel concluded that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools is too biological and too negative, with insufficient attention given to rights, gender equity, emotions and relationships. These findings led the panel to recommend a major overhaul of the SRE curriculum.

Comments on the guidance need to be submitted by 1 April, 2019.

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