We receive many emails from parents asking us to check the resources that their children’s schools are using to teach Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE). We’ve been extremely concerned by some of these.
The latest DfE guidance is very clear that if schools use external providers they must use resources which are evidence-based, contain facts from credible sources, and do not reinforce harmful stereotypes. Many of the providers we looked at did not comply with this.
Existing safeguarding best practice is that children should not be asked to keep secrets, or to contact people online who they don’t know in person, or presented with resources which promote porn and prostitution as healthy. Suicide should not be introduced as a possible outcome to any child. Resources should be written with the understanding that some children are subject to child sexual abuse and exploitation, and the teaching of RSE may be distressing, triggering or bring about feelings of guilt. All children should be taught that their boundaries are important.
Sadly many of the resources we have been sent failed on these counts as well.
We have now created a pack which will allow parents, carers and teachers to check the provider that their school is using against both safeguarding best practice and the latest DfE guidelines. Thanks to the contributions of many concerned supporters, we’ve been able to pay to have this put together in a user-friendly format. The time spent researching and writing the resource is all unpaid.
Please note that we have not been able to check every resource at this point: just because a provider is not in this guide does NOT mean there are no problems with it – please ask for a copy, check it and contact the school you have any concerns. If you also send it to us we may include it in part two.
Parents and carers have a responsibility to check what is being taught to their children. Please refer to our ‘RSE and the law in England’ guide for more information on this. The current RSE statutory guidance includes personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE).