From next September, primary and secondary school pupils in England will learn about relationships, keeping safe online and looking after their mental health as part of compulsory lessons.
Children in primary school will have relationships education and this will be broadened to relationships and sex education in secondary schools. Health education for all ages will also be part of the curriculum.
The lessons will include looking after their own mental well-being and also recognise when their classmates might be struggling. They will cover why simple self-care such as getting enough sleep and spending time outdoors and with friends is important. The curriculum will aim to ensure that young people can spot the signs of common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression in themselves and others, as well as how to access to professional health.
When it comes to sex and relationships, lessons will cover online safety, such as sharing private photos and how to report anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, as well as covering how the internet can promote unhealthy views of sex and relationships. There will also be lessons on FGM and the government is considering widening this to include honour-based abuse, as well as grooming and domestic abuse.
The lessons will all contain age-appropriate content.
Several parents have raised concern with the proposed content of the lessons. However, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Growing up and adolescence are hard enough, but the internet and social media add new pressures that just weren’t there even one generation ago. Almost 20 years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on.”