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Health Education and Relationships education/RSE to be compulsory for all pupils in all schools

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On 19 July 2018, Damian Hinds, secretary of state for education made a welcome announcement following engagement with a wide range of organisations, including NAHT, and a call for evidence which received over 23,000 responses.

In addition to relationships education and relationships and sex education (RSE), the Department is proposing to introduce compulsory content on health education, which will include both physical and mental health.

This is a significant achievement for NAHT and for all of the organisations that have campaigned for compulsory PSHE – effectively the P, S and H have been achieved for all pupils, in all schools.

Unfortunately, the DfE does not consider that economic education should be made compulsory as financial education is already in the curriculum, in maths and citizenship, and careers education is part of their careers strategy.

The PSHE Association has produced a new briefing which answers some key questions on what these new requirements mean for schools which you can read here.

When will these subjects be compulsory?

All schools will be required to teach the new subjects from September 2020.

Many schools will be able to adapt their teaching to meet the new content requirements sooner as they already deliver much of it through an existing programme of PSHE in their schools. They should continue to do so, adapting and developing their curriculum to cover the statutory content and not starting from scratch. The DfE wants as many schools as possible to start teaching the subjects from September 2019.

It is vital that the schools that need more time to plan and prepare get that time. As the final content and guidance are unlikely to be published until spring 2019, the requirement to teach the subjects from September 2020 gives schools a full academic year to prepare and learn from good practice across the sector.

Consultation on draft statutory guidance

The DfE is now seeking views on the draft regulations, statutory guidance, and regulatory impact assessment relating to relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education.

This consultation asks whether the statutory guidance provides sufficient information and support to schools in teaching the subjects. The responses to this consultation will help the DfE finalise the draft regulations and statutory guidance before the regulations are put before parliament and the guidance finally published.

NAHT will be submitting a response to this consultation but would also encourage individual members to respond here.

First published 08 August 2018