WQ92868 (e) Tabled on 15/05/2024

What assessment has the Minister made of new statutory guidance in England that will mean schools will not teach sex education to children below year 5, and whether similar guidance should be issued in Wales?

Answered by Cabinet Secretary for Education | Answered on 21/05/2024

The Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Code, which sets out the mandatory learning at developmentally appropriate phases, and supporting statutory guidance is part of the Curriculum for Wales framework.

Unlike statutory guidance, schools are legally required to follow the RSE Code. This provides a clear legal safeguard for what schools are permitted to teach at different age groups. This is a much stronger legal safeguard than simply amending statutory guidance, as proposed.

There is a statutory duty to ensure RSE teaching and learning in Wales is developmentally appropriate for every learner, and it must comply with the RSE Code.  Learners must not be exposed to learning they are not ready for. In making decisions about what is developmentally appropriate, schools must use the Code and statutory guidance to consider the broad age ranges of when learning is likely to be appropriate.

Learning must also be objective, critical and pluralistic: meaning schools and settings must provide factual information. On questions of values, they must provide a range of views commonly held within society and may not promote one viewpoint over another. Both the Code and statutory guidance are published to give parents and carers clarity and transparency about what their children will learn and when.