RCPCH responds to draft guidance on relationships and health education in schools

Draft guidance published today by the Department of Education aims to make sure that education prepares young people for life in the modern world. Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion, responds.

According to new plans published today by the Education Secretary, from September 2020 it will become compulsory for all students to study health education. They will also have to study new reformed Relationships Education in primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education in secondary schools. This is the first update to guidance since 2000.

Under the proposals, all schools will teach children, in an age-appropriate way, about good physical and mental health, how to stay safe on and offline, and the importance of healthy relationships. The curriculum will also support the development of qualities such as confidence, resilience, self-respect and self-control.

Responding to the Department for Education's new draft guidance on relationships and health education in schools, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

"The RCPCH is greatly encouraged by these proposals, which will help to equip children with the skills needed to lead healthier lives. Teaching children about healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, consent in relationships, online safety and preventive health are all hugely important in promoting physical and mental health from an early age. 

"It is crucial that teachers receive the training and resources needed to deliver this promising curriculum. We would also like further clarity on whether Personal, Social and Health Education will be made statutory for all schools – something the RCPCH and young people themselves have long been calling for – and how it will interact with these proposals.”