We want schools to provide all young people with a curriculum that equips them for success in adult life. High-quality sex and relationship education (SRE) and personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education have a vital role to play in this.
SRE is compulsory in maintained secondary schools. Academies and free schools do not have to teach SRE, but many choose to do so as part of their statutory duty to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
When teaching SRE, all schools, including academies through their funding agreement, must have regard to the Secretary of State's Sex and Relationship Education guidance. The existing SRE guidance was last updated in 2000. We have received requests about updating the guidance which we will consider carefully.
Schools and teachers have the freedom to design lessons that meet their pupils’ needs, taking account of pupil and parent views. Teachers are encouraged to develop their practice with the support of specialist organisations and expert professionals. Many of these specialist organisations have produced resources that can be used and adapted by schools.
We hold regular meetings with Ofsted about a range of matters. As the Secretary of State said at the Education Select Committee hearing in September 2016, we need to look again at how schools deliver high-quality PSHE, including SRE. We are considering all the options, including the need for any statutory powers, and will come to a view soon.