The curriculum is undergoing a much-needed shake-up for the first time in almost twenty years.
Under government proposals, health education (including mental health), will be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all primary and secondary schools. The government have said that children will be taught how to build mental resilience – as well as how to recognise when their peers are struggling with mental health issues – as part of statutory lessons.
Important topics. including consent and LGBT+ issues, will also be added to the framework.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “I want to make sure that our children are able to grow up to become happy and well-rounded individuals who know how to deal with the challenges of the modern world.
“Part of this is making sure they are informed about how to keep themselves safe and healthy and have good relationships with others.
“Many of today’s problems did not exist when we last gave schools guidance on how to teach Relationships and Sex Education 18 years ago. The action we’re taking is important to help support teachers and schools design a curriculum that will enrich their pupils in an age-appropriate way.”
However, not everyone is happy with the proposal as the changes are not due to take place until September 2020. There is also a worry that some PSHE topics haven't been made compulsory, including 'financial literacy' and 'preparation for the workplace'.
Almudena Lara, head of policy and public affairs at the NSPCC, said: “While compulsory lessons are a long-awaited step to help children understand and develop healthy relationships in an online world, we are disappointed that implementation is being delayed again to 2020.
“By then up to 1.4 million children will have started primary school without a requirement for clear age-appropriate lessons on consent, appropriate boundaries, healthy relationships and how to treat others.”
The proposals are now open to another consultation on how the subjects should be taught – with teaching materials available from 2019 and the reforms becoming statutory in September 2020.
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