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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GALLERY: 9 stunning locations in the UK which are inspired by children’s books
Beatrix Potter's beautifully illustrated Peter Rabbit books are all influenced by her childhood days spent in the Lake District. Around Brockhole's beautiful lakeshore grounds is a Beatrix Potter trail and in Bowness-on-Windermere is The Wolrd of Beatrix Potter attraction - both great days out for you and the kids.
The Tales of Peter Rabbit - Lake District, Cumbria
Winnie the Pooh, written by A.A. Milne, always played with his toys in the woods by their home in the Ashdwon Forest. You can visit the real 'Hundred Acre Wood', where several locations in the Pooh stories can be matched to real places.
Winnie the Pooh - Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenso - which tells the story of pirates, parrots and treasure - features many places in Bristol. You can take part in a treasure island trail, which is a family friendly walk and app that guides you around Bristol's historic scene and has fascinating insights into Bristol's connections with Treasure Island.
Treasure Island - Bristol
JM Barrie iconically used the opening sentence “All children grow up, except one”, which was a tribute to his brother who tragically died a day before his 14th birthday. His family thought of him as a forever boy and the legend of Peter Pan was born. JM Barrie commissioned a statue of Peter Pan which stands in Kensington Gardens that you can visit!
Peter Pan - Kensington Gardens, London
Written by English author Mary Norton, The Borrowers tells the trials and tribulations of a family of tiny people based in Leighton Buzzard. The house where The Borrowers was set is now a school. Things you can do in the area in relation to the book include a trip to Whipsnade Zoo, the Stockwood Discovery Centre and a Birds of Prey Centre in nearby Wilstead.
The Borrowers - Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Written by Edith Nesbit, The Railway Children was inspired by Ediths walks to Chelsfield railway station in Yorkshire. The story follows the lives of three children who move to a house near the railway. You can step back in time by standing on the bridge at Haworth and watch the vintage steam trains puff their way up and down the valley, or jump aboard and travel to the Edwardian Oakworth station which was the location for the famous 1970s film.
The Railway Children - Yorkshire
Written by Richard Adams and based in Hampshire there are many things you can do in the area in relation to the book. Stay near to the village of Ecchinswell which offers a Watership Down walk, taking in Nuthanger Farm which plays a major role in the novel. Along the way, see rare butterflies as well as obligatory bobbing bunny tails as they bounce around the North Wessex Downs.
Watership Down - North Wessex Downs, Hampshire
Written by JK Rowling the Harry Potter books were all based in and around London. The books have inspired eight films, a tonne of merchandise and a studio tour close to Watford Junction - which is a great place to visit. Be sure to pop over to Platform 9¾ at London’s King’s Cross station and have your photo snapped as if you were getting ready to board the Hogwarts Express.
Harry Potter - London
Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland was set in Oxford. The town offers many ways to acquaint the visitor with the history of the novel and its author. Alice’s Day commemorates an important moment for children’s literature and is celebrated annually. Or try a themed walking tour of the city and see the original copy of the books in the Bodleian Library. If you want to expand your ‘Carroll’ tour, take a trip to Guildford, Surrey where he wrote Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Alice in Wonderland - Oxford