ASCL responds to review of RSHE guidance

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Department for Education’s announcement about a review of Relationships, Sex, Health and Education guidance.
“It is important to understand a review of the guidance was always planned at this time and it is not now happening in response to some sort of calamity over the teaching of this important subject. It is very disappointing to see Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s implicit criticism of schools when she says the review will restore the confidence of parents.
“In fact, the vast majority of schools teach this subject cautiously, sensitively and in an age-appropriate manner. Claims made about inappropriate teaching are overblown, sweeping and supported by evidence which is flimsy at best.
“Furthermore, the government has provided very little training support for the teaching of this subject and we sincerely hope the review that is due to take place will make recommendations around providing more and better-resourced training. This is such a sensitive and difficult subject to navigate that it really requires the provision of specialist teachers, but the government expects it to be taught by existing classroom teachers who are also teaching other subjects. As ever, it expects to deliver major policies on the cheap, and then is quick to criticise schools.”