Sex and Relationships Education to become statutory part of curriculum in Wales

Sex and Relationships Education in Wales (SRE) will become a statutory part of the curriculum in Wales, following an announcement from the Welsh Assembly’s Cabinet Secretary for Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams.

The subject will become known as Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) – a statutory part of Wales’s new curriculum which will be in place from 2022. At present, SRE is a statutory part of the basic curriculum in Wales but it is down to schools to decide their approach to the subject and this sometimes doesn’t stretch beyond the biological aspects of human relationships. RSE will broaden the area of study and places an emphasis on forming and maintaining healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships.

The RCPCH called for statutory and comprehensive personal, social and health education programmes (including sex and relationships education) across all primary and secondary schools in our landmark State of Child Health (Wales) report.

Responding to the announcement, Dr Mair Parry, Officer for Wales at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

“This move from Welsh Government should be applauded – Sex and Relationship Education is key to ensuring children at all ages are as prepared as possible for the challenges they’ll face in later life. The key now will be ensuring the curriculum is fit for purpose. We want to see it cover topics such as preparing for puberty, respecting boundaries and the importance of respectful relationships for primary schools children, and the importance of wellbeing, reproductive choice and healthy behaviours during and after pregnancy, including familiarity with breastfeeding, for secondary school children.

It’s good to see a commitment to professional learning to accompany this curriculum change - children and young people consistently tell us they prefer health messages to be repeated and delivered through different mediums, forums and methods, and that content should be delivered by appropriately trained staff.”