A blackboard with 'Sex Education' written on it, with chalk drawings of a person, hearts, pride flag and sperm cells.
Credit: Dusan Stankovic

The new draft relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) policy released today poses some serious risks for children and young people and conflicts with robust research in this area.

The proposals set parameters as to what can be taught and when. This can be incredibly damaging given the early access to social media and the internet that many very young children have. Children and young people need education and safe spaces where they can explore and understand relationships and sex in an evidence-informed way.

No reason or underpinning research is given to justify the age groups outlined and key research and evidence has not been listened to, such as the evidence that colleagues and I gave to the Select Committee and also the report I produced for the DfE.

The draft also highlights that gender has to be taught as a ‘contested issue’ this again is damaging to young people as the evidence tells us the more all young people learn about diversity, including gender, the more positive the outcomes are.

The proposals are a serious cause for concern and the negative psychological and physical impacts upon children and young people will be profound if this is implemented.