Commenting on the passing of motion 27 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The introduction of statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) in England from September last year was a crucial milestone in how we help children and young people grow up to form happy, healthy relationships and feel able to be themselves.
“The NEU remains committed to supporting schools to understand the new requirements and we will work to increase confidence within primary and secondary schools about the curriculum change. Not all schools are confident about how to develop a curriculum that is LGBT+ inclusive, and this matters because each student needs to access information about diversity in society. We can't work towards equality in society or tackle discrimination in workplaces unless we talk positively about LGBT+ people across the curriculum.
“The Department for Education must continue to provide teachers with access to inclusive RSHE training and it must ensure that all relevant guidance supports LGBT+ inclusion – providing clear and practical advice rather than alarming schools about what they can’t do.
“The NEU has recently published Every Child, Every Family, a resource about reading which is one straightforward way to challenge stereotypes with primary children and to include diverse families in the curriculum. (1)
“As we emerge from the pandemic it's clear that the subject of RSHE needs to be an important part of school life. Schools must be supported to make the most of this subject as it is one way that schools can respond to the inequality which affects students’ lives.
“We also need consistent recognition from the Secretary of State of the vital role RSHE plays. It must no longer be pushed to the margins due to pressures on academic catch-up. Children’s social and emotional learning matters, in its own terms, and also because it underpins successful learning. Relationships, Sex and Health Education matters. If we are to have successful recovery education, then the Government must enable schools to adapt teaching and learning to meet the needs of the students in their class or subject.”
1. Every Child, Every Family, January 2021