I believe that age-appropriate RSE should be a statutory subject in schools. I am therefore pleased that in March 2019, the House of Commons voted in favour of schools being required to teach compulsory health education, compulsory relationships education in primary school and compulsory relationships and sex education in secondary schools from September 2020.
All children should be empowered to make healthy, informed decisions and to know that it is not wrong to be LGBT and not acceptable to experience gender harassment or violence. I am proud to have voted in favour of RSE becoming statutory in schools to reflect the society that we live in today based on inclusiveness and respect.
The statutory guidance published by the Government notes the role of parents in the development of their children’s understanding about relationships is vital and that all schools should work closely with parents when planning and delivering these subjects.
I share the concerns of many over the horrifying figures on bullying and mental health problems that affect young LGBT people. I believe that addressing these issues in the curriculum is important in ensuring that they and others can grow up understanding more and living in a safer environment.
There is not only a moral imperative to ensure that all young children receive LGBT inclusive education, there is a legal requirement too and schools must comply with the Equalities Act.
I also agree with many of you on the importance of educating our children about online safety. The Government has stated that the world that children and young people face today is very different and that this is why now more than ever, it is necessary for young people to be given the knowledge that they need to lead safe, happy and healthy lives.
High-quality relationships and sex education helps to create safe school communities where pupils can grow, learn and develop positive, healthy behaviour for life. I believe that it is vital that statutory RSE is a part of the overall teacher training programme, and any qualified teachers whose role includes teaching it must be appropriately equipped and resourced.