Write to your MP to demand Government delay RSE to allow parental consultations hit by Coronavirus lockdown
Since all schools have been officially closed to all children (except for those of ‘key workers’) since 20th March this has inevitably brought disruption to, and in many cases entirely prevented, the process of parental consultation which all schools must, by law, conduct concerning their Relationships & Sex Education policy, content and delivery.
We are therefore calling on everyone to write to their MPs calling on the Government to:
1. Delay the implementation of the new compulsory subjects of Relationships Education (primary schools) and Relationships & Sex Education (secondary schools) until the full parental consultation process has been able to take place in all schools.
The requirement to deliver the subjects should be delayed for at least a year until September 2021, or later if there is any further disruption due to the Coronavirus.
2. Restore the parental right of withdrawal from both Relationships Education and RSE in recognition of the fact that teaching about sex and relationships is primarily the role of parents and they must have the final say about what is taught to their children on these subjects. Only a right of withdrawal ensures parents’ views are taken seriously in any consultation, and also offers a workable solution where individual parents feel they cannot go along with what the school or the majority want for RSE. This protects the rights of all parents to act in their children’s best interests.
You can remind your MP that by law – according to the 2019 RSE Regulations [section 8 (80B)(3)] – the governing body of a school MUST consult parents before developing or changing the school’s RSE policy.
The RSE Statutory Guidance (2019) further requires that parents should be consulted fully concerning the content of lessons and resources to be used. It is now very hard, if not impossible, that this crucial consultation process can take place in the current situation.
Under no circumstances should the implementation of these subjects go ahead without effective parental engagement. As the Government’s Statutory Guidance acknowledges:
The role of parents in the development of their children’s understanding about relationships is vital. Parents are the first teachers of their children. They have the most significant influence in enabling their children to grow and mature and to form healthy relationships.