We welcome the release of new guidance relating to the teaching of Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) in schools from the Department for Education.
We are pleased to see that our concerns have been taken on board and are beginning to be addressed. This guidance is largely in line with our own resources.
This guidance stresses the importance of consulting with parents. It is in the best interests of children when schools and parents work together and there is transparency about what is being taught and how. Safeguarding children is the responsibility of every adult in the community. We are encouraged to see the importance of safeguarding clearly spelt out; explicit acknowledgment that RSE will trigger disclosures, and that adults in schools should NEVER promise confidentiality or keeping secrets.
The advice on outside agencies and visitors is extremely welcome. Schools must do due diligence with all outside agencies, their staff and their materials, even if they believe them to be reputable due to funding or perceived endorsements from government. We are reassured by the directive that ‘You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear’ and ‘teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat individual students with sympathy and support.’
This is a vindication of years of campaigning from Transgender Trend and many and others in the face of libel and abuse from Pink News, Stonewall and many others. Our members have also put in many hours of unpaid work to challenge the DfE and individual schools and councils.
We would like to thank each and every one of our supporters, who have shared our materials, talked to friends and written to their schools and MPs. Please continue to do so. There is much regulatory capture still to be undone. We will now be pushing for organisations that promote unsafe guidance to be removed from schools and will be providing resources to help with this as soon as we can.
Thank you again from all of us at Safe Schools Alliance UK!