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Sex Education Charter launched by the National Church

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Dec, 2019 05:18 PM

The Church of England has published a Charter and resources to support schools in delivering Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE).

The Charter features 8 commitments which all schools, Church of England and others, can sign up to, prior to the new guidelines becoming law in autumn 2020.

The Church of England’s lead Bishop for Education Stephen Conway said in April that RSHE would require a shared duty of care between parents and schools, with the contents of the curriculum discussed and clearly communicated in advance.

To enable this, a skeleton agenda for parents’ meetings has also been published, together with a framework for school staff discussion, a policy template and activities and prayers.

The 8 commitments include delivering the curriculum as a professional and identifiable part of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), building resilience of pupils, promoting healthy relationships, using honest and medically accurate information, meeting individual requirements including special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and seeking pupils’ views to make teaching relevant to their lives.

Launching the resources, Stephen Conway, who is Bishop of Ely and the Church’s lead Bishop for Education said:

“We are very pleased to be offering this Charter and companion resources which can help all schools foster an inclusive and faith-sensitive approach to Relationships, Sex and Health Education.

“While delivery of these topics has not been without contention in recent months, children are increasingly at risk of exposure to pornography and other damaging online and real-world interactions, and we must commit to teaching this vital part of the curriculum in a way which affords dignity and shows respect to all.

“It is our ambition that these resources will give primary schools in particular the confidence to develop an age-appropriate sex education provision in partnership with parents, guardians and carers, while recognising this is a decision for each school to make.

“As all schools must uphold the protected characteristics of the Equalities Act, this Charter is not just for Church of England Schools, but can be of value to any school as it seeks to be clear and intentional about a faith-sensitive approach to Relationships and Sex Education.

“We commend these resources and pray for families and all in our schools who have the privilege and responsibility of helping children and young people to develop the skills they need to form healthy, resilient relationships within a pluralistic society.”

The Charter and companion resources, published by the Church of England’s Education Department, can be downloaded from the Church of England website, here.

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