I’m writing to respond to the Welsh Government's consultation Draft relationships and sexuality education guidance. I have included responses to certain questions that interest me, below.
Question 5: Do you think each section of the draft guidance is clear and explains what is required of teachers and schools?
No. I really like the rights- and gender-equity based approach and what content there is is good, but there is no detailed information at all about what should be taught at each key stage, or even what pupils should know by the end of primary and the end of secondary school.
Question 6: Do you feel there are any gaps in information?
Yes. There are huge gaps in information. These include sexual health, reproduction, contraception and abortion, puberty, menstruation, FGM, and even the naming of body parts. I am very concerned about the quality of the curriculum that schools will produce as a result of this guidance. Every school pupil should be required to learn about all of these.
Question 9: What kind of training, support or resources would you like to see to help support the successful implementation of the guidance?
Initial teacher training in the subject must be introduced. It is only by introducing dedicated specialists with expert curriculum knowledge and the ability to coordinate teaching across each school that the subject can be taught properly. Additional funding must also be provided to train existing teachers as well as Estyn inspectors.
Question 13: If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them.
I understand the Welsh Government is currently consulting on a proposal to make RSE compulsory for all pupils under the age of 16. I firmly support this plan because all the evidence shows that pupils who are provided with high-quality, comprehensive, factually accurate lessons on these issues are best placed to grow up healthy, happy, and safe.
The guidance says very little about faith schools or what will be taught to pupils from religious backgrounds. It should make it clear that all schools are expected to teach age-appropriate RSE, regardless of whether they have a religious character or what that character is. This must include teaching on LGBT acceptance.
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