Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the recent announcement around Relationship and Sex Education and the Home Office announcement today on knife crime.
Relationship and Sex Education
Today, Tuesday 17 July, there have been several articles on relationship and sex education, following the opinion piece by the Secretary of State at the weekend. The Daily Star, The Sun and the I all wrote follow up pieces, focusing on various aspects of future content for such subjects.
Some pieces have noted that children at the age of four years old will receive lessons in consent; to be clear, all relationship education in primary schools will be age-appropriate. This means that at primary school, children will emphasise the importance of asking and getting permission in relationships with friends, peers and adults and what are appropriate boundaries in different types of relationships. On top of this, the Daily Telegraph ran a comment piece from the journalist Celia Walden who called the announcement ‘knee jerk’, stating that children aged four should not be taught about consent irrespective of whether or not teaching is age-appropriate.
It is simply not the case that any plans around the new relationship and sex content are ‘knee jerk’.
The department has been taking part in a wide-ranging engagement process regarding the revised subject content, including a public call for evidence held earlier this year where over 23,000 parents, young people, schools and experts shared their views. On top of this, as the Secretary of State has set out, any new draft guidance would also be subject to a consultation seeking views from anyone with experience of, or an interest in, the teaching of RSE, including teachers and a variety of organisations.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
It’s vital that every child knows about their rights and that nothing should happen to them without their consent.
This guidance was last updated before the children at school today were even born, and whilst many schools already choose to teach young people about the importance of healthy relationships, this updated guidance will support schools as we make Relationships Education compulsory.
This new guidance will ensure lessons teach children and young people how to recognise when someone else has not given consent and more importantly why they should not to put pressure on someone else to do something they don’t want to.
Today, Tuesday 17 July, the Home Office has announced lesson plans it will be sending to 18,000 schools for their Personal Health and Social Education (PSHE) lessons, on the topic of knife crime. The lesson plans will be based on the Home Office’s #knifefree campaign, a part of the wider Serious Violence Strategy, and will focus on the dangers of carrying knives to children’s futures and are targeted at Key Stage 4 pupils. The lesson plans were covered this morning by BBC Breakfast.
Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
Knife crime has devastating consequences on society and this Government is determined to take action and protect our children, families and communities from it.
This initiative gives teachers practical materials to help teach about the real impact of knife crime on society as a whole and builds on the work we’ve already done to help teachers ensure schools are safe places. It is heartening to know schools up and down the country are taking advantage of this.