pledge your support for high-quality rShe

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Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) was made a mandatory topic in 2017 with cross-party support. In 2019, 538 MPs voted in favour of the guidance which had widespread support from organisations across health, education, safeguarding and faith groups.

The guidance is now being reviewed. We want the Government to take an evidence-based approach and use this opportunity to build on the 2019 guidance so that it is a practical tool for teachers so that they can provide the RSHE that children and young people want and need. 

What is Rshe?

Relationships, Sex and Health Education covers a broad range of topics to support children and young people to be healthy. This includes Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

  • RSE is mandatory in all secondary schools in England 
  • Relationships Education is mandatory in all primary schools in England.  
  • The statutory guidance covers the whole of the RSHE curriculum for primary and secondary schools. 

High-quality RSHE is needed now more than ever

The need for inclusive, high-quality RSHE has not gone away. Since 2019 many of the problems it addresses have become more acute including safeguarding children online and off; young people’s poor mental and sexual health; exposure to extreme pornography; misogyny, sexual bullying and harassment; and increasing threats to LGBT+ people.  

Children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world. The evidence is clear that good RSHE is vital to keep them safe, healthy and thriving

High-quality RSHE is:

It safeguards children in today’s digital era. It helps them to understand healthy relationships and consent, recognise abuse and ask for help; and reduces gender-based violence.

It is sequenced to prepare children and young people as they move through puberty, adolescence and into adulthood. It is responsive to the questions children ask, and to current and emerging issues.

It celebrates diversity and is relevant to all students, including those who are disabled and neurodivergent, LGBT+, and from a range of cultural and faith backgrounds.

It is informed by research and by children and young people’s experiences, and delivers scientifically accurate information from reliable sources.

It celebrates healthy relationships, not just addressing risk and harm. It engages with boys and young men and helps young people to aspire to relationships that are supportive, caring and pleasurable.

Alongside developing essential knowledge, it facilitates open discussion and plays a vital role in helping children develop crucial life skills.

It is taught by trained, well supported teachers and specialists. 

It involves parents and carers who are informed about the development of the curriculum, and consulted to ensure RSHE meets the needs of families.

Find out more about the evidence for inclusive RSHE

What needs to happen next to improve the quality of RSHE?

Investment in training for teachers through initial teacher training and continuing professional development is vital. Teachers who are trained, skilled and knowledgeable will be the key to significant improvement in the quality and consistency of RSHE.

The revised guidance should support schools to:

  • Continue and complete the implementation of a comprehensive RSHE curriculum
  • Focus on the development of inter-personal skills from early years alongside RSHE knowledge
  • Use evidence – school level, local and national data, and consultation with young people – to inform the timing and sequencing of the RSHE curriculum
  • Make best use of external resources and organisations to complement in-school expertise 
  • Improve involvement of parents and carers
  • Ensure RSHE is inclusive of, and relevant to, all children from all families

WAYS to get involved

1. Sign our online pledge

I stand up for high-quality, inclusive Relationships Sex and Health Education (RSHE) that empowers children and young people to thrive. 

As the Government updates its RSHE guidance, I stand for RSHE that is:  

  • Protective – keeping children and young people safe in today’s digital era 
  • Developmentally appropriateand responsive to the questions children ask, and to current and emerging issues 
  • Empowering – celebrating healthy relationships, not just addressing risk and harm 
  • Inclusive – Relevant to all students and reflective of the whole community 
  • Evidence-based – informed by research and by children and young people’s experiences 
  • Effective focusing on life skills and open discussion as well as factual knowledge 
  • Professional – taught by trained teachers and supported by specialists 
  • Engaged with parents and carers – to ensure RSE meets the needs of families

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I [your name] stand up for high-quality, inclusive Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) that empowers children and young people to thrive. Pledge your support to help protect RSE in schools!

As the Government updates its RSHE guidance I stand for RSE that is: Protective; Developmentally appropriate; Empowering; Inclusive; Evidence-based; Effective; Taught by trained teachers; Engaged with parents and carers. Pledge your support to help protect RSE in schools!

3. Send a letter to your MP

As the Government redrafts the RSHE guidance, and MPs prepare to debate the future of LGBT+ inclusive RSE, please encourage your MP to get involved. It’s important that MPs know their constituents support high-quality RSHE.

You can email your MP directly via the Write to Them website by putting in your postcode. We have provided some sample text that you can adapt to let them know why you want them to support high-quality RSHE.

Dear [your member of parliament],

I [your name] stand up for high-quality, inclusive Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) that empowers children and young people to thrive.

As the Government updates its guidance I stand for RSHE that is: 

  • Protective – keeping children and young people safe in today’s digital era
  • Developmentally appropriate – and responsive to the questions children ask, and to current and emerging issues 
  • Empowering – celebrating healthy relationships, not just addressing risk and harm
  • Inclusive – relevant to all students and reflective of the whole community 
  • Evidence-based – informed by research and by children and young people’s experiences 
  • Effective – focusing on life skills and open discussion as well as factual knowledge
  • Taught by trained teachers and supported by specialists 
  • Engaged with parents and carers to ensure RSE meets the needs of families

As a constituent I would like you to sign up to this pledge to support high-quality RSHE (https://rse.brook.org.uk/mp-pledge/), and to stand up for inclusive RSHE in future Parliamentary debates and at every opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

[name]

signatories

Signatories include…

There is so much evidence to suggest that education protects children and young people, it arms them with the vocabulary to ask for help when they need it and to understand boundaries and consent. My children have two mums and they deserve for their classmates to understand that families that are different are valid. We need a modern approach for a new generation.

Kelsie (parent and teacher), Luton

Sex education needs to be inclusive and reflect the real world and it’s real people.

Children deserve to be educated about sex and gender.

Miseducation is dangerous. We must help support children’s education.

Freya (young person), London

I went to secondary school in Austria until age 14 and I had great sex ed there. We talked about LGBTQ+ issues and relationships, we learned about contraception, we learned about periods… and so much more. Our biology teacher was really old-fashioned and religious most of the time, but she made such an effort to foster an open environment during sex ed class where everyone could share their experience and ask whatever they wanted to know. I am so grateful and it absolutely breaks my heart to know that children where I live don’t get to have the same experience right now and that this new guidance will make it even worse in the future. Thank you for what your doing and please continue fighting for better sex ed!

Toni (young person), Bristol

The government’s attempt to worsen sex education through more conservative, less inclusive guidelines is shameful and harms kids instead of protecting them. As a platform governance and online safety expert, there isn’t a single debate I’ve been to where kids’ access to sexual content online hasn’t been raised as a concern, often in connection with their attempt to learn about sex and pleasure. The new guidelines strip kids of crucial tools to learn about consent, sexual health, reproduction and safety, making them more likely to access material they do not understand without the ability to contextualise it. The guidelines also shame and further marginalised trans people, and pathologise sex as something harmful. They’re a step backwards, instead of progress towards the realisation that sex – and knowledge about it – are a crucial aspect of all our lives. I’ve pledged my support.

Carolina

It’s important that young people have quality, rounded education about relationships and sex. Normalising queer/non heterosexual relationships (not even necessarily linked to sex) and educating young people about issues of identity, gender, sexuality and more is not unnecessary or troubling as some politicians would have it.
Shame, stigma and silence help no one and in fact only add to the huge challenges that young people face. Solid and unbiased education which promotes empathy and understanding can go further and help kids understand and face the more serious and under-discussed issues such as relationships to social media and self, bodies and health (physical and mental), misogyny, exploitation and access to extreme and unethically produced pornography which undoubtedly causes more harm than relationships and sex education.

Eleanor (young person)

I began puberty very, very young and I could have benefitted from learning more about my body earlier on.
Kids have questions about their bodies/sex/gender etc from so young… why are we not providing a good framework for teachers, instead of just ignoring it and sweeping things under the rug??? Surely, we want to build positive relationships with these topics for youngsters instead of making it a taboo. Otherwise, it is a recipe for disaster and dangerous for children to not have space to learn and ask questions and be given genuine information… because they will just learn from Tik Tok instead!!

Stevie (parent), Poole

Everyone should have RSE that helps them prepare for the future and to keep them safe as children.

Children should have the terminology of their bodies and consent so they can report if they are being abused and be in healthy relationships when they are older.

Children should also be told about changes that happen to their body before it happens. Young AFABs can have a period as young as 9, which is before the government’s guidance of when to teach about puberty.

The governments new stance on LGBTQ+ is like going back to section 28! RSE should be diverse, and relevant to all students.

Children who are more prepared are less likely to have reckless sex, and teen pregnancy would be lower. RSE should not be taught with fear, it should be scientific but also teach emotions around the topic, showing care, enjoyment and love

Lauren

It is a must to learn from a young age about consent, bodies and gender. This can help children recognise which touches are wanted/right or unwanted/wrong, it protects children and helps them understand themselves and the world around them better (e.g. why someone has 2 moms/dad’s or why someone uses the pronouns they/them, he/him or she/her).

Manouk (young person)

It is fundamentally important that children observe and understand queer relationships and identities. Without this knowledge, we risk perpetuating homophobia and inequality into the future, and taking steps backwards rather than forwards culturally. These identities must be learned about because they factually exist, these people have a place in the lives of some children, and some children will grow up to have these identities.

Joseph (young person)

I have been a primary school teacher, I’m currently a parent of smalls and teens and this is just outrageous. It protects no one. Accurate and wide teaching information empowers young people to keep themselves safe, first of all, but also lead more happy and fulfilled lives with good relationships in general.

Rebekah (parent), Norwich

Because there is evidence to show that it helps young people to make informed choices about their relationships, bodies and sexual health. It helps them to foster healthy relationships, know where to get support if they are ever in danger and how to think critically about the media they consume. It helps to protect young people from abuse. Without it we would be doing a huge disservice to young people, and ignoring their wants – they want to learn about these topics. In the UN convention on the rights of the child it states that pupil voice should be considered, so we should listen to our young people on this.

Sophie

I am a nurse that sees young adults facing the hardships borne from poor sex education such as sexual and emotional abuse, teen pregnancy, STIs and just crippling shame due to lack of understanding from peers or parents. High quality RSE is so important for sharing information that empowers and protects young people to act safely and make consensual decisions. Without this, young people are vulnerable to manipulation, misinformation, and carrying out unsafe practices that can put their bodies and mental health in harms way.

Sizzle

The less children know about sex the more likely they are to be sexually abused themselves.
Plus, learning about non binary and trans people does not “turn” children trans. Instead it will help those that feel they don’t fit in to understand themselves and grow up and become a more accepting generation.

Melody

As a queer person who came out later in life, inclusive rshe would have been massively beneficial for me finding out who I was at a younger age. My sex education was so dire that I turned to the Internet to find what I was missing – thankfully from the likes of sex educators like Hannah Witton and Ruby Rare, but I shouldn’t have had to do that. It should have been a basic education that I received at school. As a queer person who went to school at the tail end of section 28, the thought of something like this being reintroduced is frightening. I cannot believe we are going backwards, still 20 years on. The harm that section 28 did to my generation will be repeated all over again for a new generation just as it finally feels like we’re making progress with undoing all of that harm. I am so angry. Our kids deserve so much better. We as a country deserve so much better.

Emma

I have a 4 year old and sex education that’s empowering and inclusive is, to me, a vital part of an education. the government are taking an axe to that all in the name of stoking culture wars to get people to vote for them. It’s horrible. We should be teaching kids that everyone is worthy of love and respect.

Art (parent), Birmingham

I was a teacher, and I can say from experience that the young people of today are keen for information and largely uninformed. The new set of RSE guidance will leave them lacking access to inclusive guidance, and could well risk them putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations to get it. I am also terrified that this is a slippery slope leading to essentially a reinstatement of section 28 – homophobia and transphobia must not be condoned.

Ella (London)

The proposed age restrictions will deny young people crucial information that could protect them. It would vastly harm their ability to make informed choices. Furthermore, as a queer person it is clear to me that the proposed ban on teaching about gender identity is a return to such draconian systemic queerphobia as section 28, which has harmed generations of queer people and the holdovers of which still affect the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK to this day. The inclusion of such a ban is a political move, one motivated by bigotry, fearmongering and misinformation.

Bonnie

Young people deserve to learn what a healthy sexual relationship looks like, and we do them a disservice when we assume that they cannot ‘handle’ certain topics or discussions when the reality is that they will go and find that information on their own from far less appropriate sources if we don’t teach them it in a safe and secure environment. We also do them a disservice when we allow biggoted, puritanically conservative political aims to dictate what we teach young people, especially when those views dictate that we leave some of those young people out of the discussion entirely and leave them open to being taken advantage of because their elders decided that their sexual identity was “inappropriate” for other students.

Tierney, Walton-On-Thames

I am someone who grew up outside of the UK with very limited access to RSHE which left me under prepared and vulnerable once I left school. It angers me that more people could be put in a similar position under the government’s proposal, and the resources Brook provides have been so helpful to my own education and wellbeing.

(young person), Manchester

It’s so important! Learning about gender diversity, sexualities, sexual pleasure etc. does not make a child more likely to be queer or trans, or have sex younger. What preventing learning about these things does however is increase the likelihood that children who are queer are more confused and lonely, and that safe sex is not practiced and consent is not understood or observed

Rhiannon (London)

Trans kids deserve to live & this new guidance will kill.

Kai (young person)

Why would you purposefully exclude several portions of our society from inclusive sex education? It doesn’t make sense. Making the sex education non-inclusive doesn’t stop the people it affects from existing!

Catherine

I am a Psychosexual and Relationship therapist. I also support young people who may go missing from thier homes/places of care. I see firsthand the effects of lack of positive RSE have. I also see this in adults I support who had no RSE in their younger years. Now more than ever younger children need this education and support. MH services have been cut and wait lists are as long as ever, the rise of gender based violence, and violence towards LGBTQIA+ is continuing to rise. There is no doubt that high quality RSE can save lives. Period.

Tara

it allows autonomy for young people to recognise themselves: their identity, and others identities. It is vital to be taught the whole spectrum as miseducation doesn’t stop young people from being gender diverse and/or having sex. It stops them from doing these things safely and without abuse.

(young person), Manchester

Children will always be better off when they are properly educated about anything that does or will affect their lives. Let’s leave politics out of our schools and allow kids to receive the important education they deserve without attempting to alienate them to the realities of their world and their communities.

William, Birmingham

I am utterly appalled at the new draft guidance. The am a parent and ex-Head of PSHE. I would argue that we should be campaigning for even more support for inclusive sex education and understanding in schools, rather than going backwards. I am woefully alarmed at the way this guidance aims to silence gender-questioning young people, LGBTQ young people, and opening all our young people to a higher risk of harm from educating themselves via internet, peers and harmful influencers, rather than trusted adults in schools. I am incredibly upset.

Sally (parent)

Sex and relationships education is one of the most important facets of youth education, and this is only becoming truer with time. As a queer woman, a recent graduate from full-time education, and someone now within education as a career – I am appalled that the government are aiming to make young people (particularly LGBTQ+) less safe, forcing them to seek out information which may be untrustworthy or detrimental to them rather than depending on the adults entrusted with their safety. My teachers (and Brook!) were so important to my feeling valued and safe as a teenager, and I see now as a teacher myself that this is truer than ever. Students need adults to give them knowledge and safety. LQBTQ+ young people aren’t going anywhere, and they will be significantly less safe at school if this guidance is made statutory. Protect. Our. Young people. And please, listen to reason and research rather than fearful parents who ought to protect their children better.

Sophie (young person and teacher), Milton Keynes

because ignorance is NOT bliss. Because comprehensive RSE is required to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce STIs, teach consent and pleasure, and improve mental health.

Mara (parent)

The conservative ideas that sexuality isn’t something that should be taught to young kids is something rooted in ignorance, outdated religious blindness, and overall a refuse of scientific evidence. The superficial misconceptions that sexual education means showing pornography to kids is as well an idiotic though of who is not willing to learn. What UK is doing is an atrocity that will hard generations in the long term. The idea they defended is of a patriarchal matrix that will force kids to venture into sexuality blind, exposing them the risk of becoming both victim or offender. This has to stop. Administration and government they need to start listening science.

Riccardo, London

It helps protect children from abuse. It gives them the clear language they need and the ability to set boundaries so that if anyone takes advantage they can communicate they are in danger. It also helps them know themselves and understand others better. It helps them feel secure and empowered within themselves. And to feel seen and represented. I grew up under section 28 and because of that didn’t know I was on the asexual spectrum. I felt isolated and broken. I felt like I was wrong because I didn’t seem to have the same feelings or experience attraction in the ways others did. I was ridiculed because only one “norm” was taught to us and was deemed acceptable and if you veered outside it you experienced bullying. It damaged my ability to have healthy relationships or to even allow myself to become close to others. All children deserve to feel included and all children should learn about the full spectrum of the human condition. It allows them to see people in loving relationships in all those spectrums and that they shouldn’t receive anything less because they deserve only the best.

Angela

It keeps children safe, and ALL children, regardless of their sexuality or orientation deserve to grow up knowing they are legitimate and deserve to exist, and are entitled to safe adult relationships as they enter adulthood.

Caroline, (teacher) Blythe

I know from my own experiences and those of my peers that insufficient RSE can and does have a significant impact on the self-esteem, safety, and mental and physical wellbeing of young people. Especially now with access to the internet, often unsupervised and unrestricted, young people are exposed to these sensitive topics from an incredibly young age. This may be through pornography, unmoderated forums, and other media that can be seriously damaging, particularly if young people are not equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools.

Sammie (young person), Exeter

I wish mine had been better!

Jessie (young person)

Children and young people are aware of sex, they are exposed to it through the media, social media and the internet. They will be investigating, exploring and informing themselves from young ages. Not all parents/carers have the language and capability to have conversations around relationships and sex with children and young people, so we cannot rely on them to be informed at home. Children and young people need to be informed so they can make good and healthy choices for themselves, so that they know when they are being put in bad or unhealthy situations and what they can do to get out of them. Evidence suggests young people wait longer to have sex (Lameiras-Fernandez et al., 2021)

Laura

As a sexual health clinical nurse specialist and provider of RSE workshops abroad, I see the importance of engaging with young people so they can negotiate relationships, discuss consent and condom use, regular STI screening and contraception. RSE helps young people to critically analyse their decisions using the latest evidence to support their health and well-being.

Ben (parent and teacher)

Provision needs to address lots of previously neglected areas such as consent, gender issues etc

Katherine, St Austell (parent and teacher)

I feel it’s important for young people to be empowered through education.

Parent, Rugby

As a parent of someone who identifies as non binary, I know that the RSE they received at school made them feel confused and frightened. The overriding messages they received were that everyone wanted to have sex , with someone of the opposite sex (which they don’t, regardless of what sex their partner may be). This was at a stage in their life when they were working out who they were, and wondering why behaviour and opinions being voiced by others didn’t make sense to them. An RSE curriculum which was more inclusive of LGBTQ+ people would have helped them feel less “weird”, and helped them discover their own identity and validate their own views.
It seems to me that in some ways things are going backwards when it comes to RSE in schools. Around 20 years ago I used to be a childminder, working mainly with pre school children. The training at the time was inclusive and I made sure that I had resources that reflected the different relationships that exist e.g. families with same sex parents. The local library had a good selection of developmentally appropriate books that supported this, and it wasn’t an issue. It makes me feel sad that so many people might complain about this today.

Michelle

It is essential for the emotional, sexual and physical wellbeing of young people.

Lottie (young person)

High-quality relationships and sex education is so important.

Young people have the right to have evidence-based, appropriate and inclusive advice about their relationships and sex given by safe and trusted adults. It’s important that this advice gives them what they need to make informed choices, but also helps them to understand how to navigate healthier relationships and their wellbeing – both with others and with themselves.

Leila, London

It’s important that we have access to information to empower us when making decisions relating to our body.

Chloe, Liverpool

As a parent, I would love my children to make having the right information. Having the right information ensures that the decision they make is knowing what can happen and they be prepared

Parent, Walsall

LGBTQ+ folks experience romantic and sexual relationships a lot differently than their non-queer counterparts and I think a large part of this is because of the lack of education around it. My personal experience in school was having a very superficial, surface-level lecture on several types of sexual intercourse with an emphasis on protection (the only strong point) and STI & morbidity statistics in the hopes of deterring us from exploring our sexual identities too much. This took place in a heteronormative environment where all examples provided took place between a biological male and female. I do not even remember penetrative anal intercourse being touched on (even if it did, I imagine it being done so in a discouraging/shameful context). There were no educational materials portraying homosexual couples or intimacy… it was like it didn’t really exist. We were free to submit questions anonymously (another good option) but I remember some of them being dismissed because the teacher perceived them as having a lack of maturity. It is not my hope that youth receive LGBTQ+ inclusive RSE as a means to “confuse” or “encourage” cishet youth to “become queer” (no amount of heteronormative SRE could do this for me…); however, I do hope this type of education could help the LGBTQ+ youth feel less alienated, alone, and afraid. LGBTQ+ RSE does not “turn” straight or cisgender youth gay or transgender; rather, it helps already queer youth build self-esteem and empowers them to make safe, healthy decisions in their daily lives (which will likely reduce cost of therapy, treatment for STIs, etc. down the road!)

Ty

I grew up under section 28 and had no education of or even reference to LGBT relationships or sex at school. I spent 20 years of my adult life trying to be straight because that’s how I thought I should be, I was ashamed of who I was. I came out at 40, but this could have happened much sooner if things had been different.
I now have a female partner who lives with me and my daughter. I want my daughter to see her family represented at school and I want all young people to have high-quality RSE so they can be free to be who they are and make well informed choices.

Catherine (parent and teacher)

I am a married, gay disabled man, who grew up under Section 28. Inclusive, frank and open sex education that didn’t make me feel ashamed of who I was becoming would have been so much more helpful and affirming.

Emmett (parent), London

I’m bisexual, had suspicions in my mid teens and explored in my late teens, but kept it hidden for several years as I was kind of embarrassed, I’d never really knew there was such a thing of being bisexual. Sex education was pretty much nonexistent at my school. I think everyone, hetero or queer, should have at the very least the basic knowledge of all forms of sexual relations.

Lee (parent), Sheffield

We are in 2024 and should not be having this conversation. Love is love, end of. Young people need to understand all aspects of different types of sexualities so that they can better understand themselves.

Zoe, Truro

RSHE and queer sex Ed are important to me, I am a school leader and my daughter is not straight.

Andrew (teacher and parent)

As a teacher and parent I feel the best way to protect young people from damaging, life-changing decisions depends on their level of education and ability to speak up about their issues and concerns.

Anna (parent and teacher)

It is absolutely essential!

Becca (parent), Wigan

I completely agree with everything on the pledge, the delivery of the lessons needs improving, I am very pleased to see the idea of celebrating healthy relationships on top of risks and harm, it’s important to discuss the positives instead of just a scare mongering approach! Furthermore, considering the digital element for young people!
Really great pledge and happy to stand with it!

Ellie (young person), Bristol

High-quality RSE has been an overlooked area of the school curriculum that is allowing the perpetuation of a society that lacks knowledge around consent, safe sex, and the importance of relationships in our day to day lives. Teaching children the skills they need to communicate about sex, understand their bodies, and form nurturing relationships will encourage them to form healthy relationships, understand their sexualities, and feel empowered in their individual identities. We cannot tackle social issues like rape culture and domestic violence without high-quality RSE.

Willow (teacher and young person), Chester

i feel RSE is the only way we can empower young people to protect themselves from unwanted STIs and pregnancies, especially when they are at sexual debut as this could affect their relationship with sexual health going forward. Knowledge is power and the English curriculum is not at half speed so neither should relationships and sex education.

Harry

High-quality RSE is essential for the safety and sell-being of all young people. It is central to safeguarding, and is especially important for LGBTQIA+ people who may otherwise have a lack of access to safe, developmentally appropriate sources for the information they need to conduct healthy relationships as young people and into adulthood.
I care deeply about the well-being of LGBTQIA+ young people, and so I adamantly support high-quality RSE.

Abi (young person), London

Because sensitive and high quality sex education enables children to make informed choices and thus keep themselves safe and have more control over their lives.

Jane (parent), Leamington Spa

I work with children and young people who are increasingly informing me of concerning issues. I have been assisting young people to be equipped with RSE information. I believe that better awareness and teaching in this area would lower the chances of young people finding themself in difficult situations that I have been so commonly told about.

Bethany (parent and teacher)

It helps young people develop healthy relationships with their peers and themselves. High quality RSE creates a safe environment for young people to learn about relationships and sexuality, as is developmentally or age appropriate.

Bobbi, London

Sexual minorities deserve to be seen and have their experiences spoken about regarding sex and relationships. Until we make it the norm, there will always be bias!

Jess (parent)

everyone deserves the ability to make informed choices about their body.

Katie, Manchester

I am in charge of RSE in a large secondary school and know how vital this is to enable students to create safe, informed futures.

Rachel (teacher)

I have worked in the domestic and sexual violence sector supporting victims for 10 years. When working with young people as well as adults they struggle to understand and recognise coercion and how to boundaries assertively. They need to understand how to manage and express emotions in a healthy and pro social way to reduce mental health needs and reduce harm to others. This needs to be taught in schools so everyone has access. How can we expect to have well adjusted adults in society if we don’t teach it.

Emily

Having spent a solid decade as a psychotherapist in high schools, I can say with certainty that an improved RSHE program for students would have a positive impact on their mental health and reduce negative experiences for young people. Because education is key.
Creating a programme that encourages young people to openly explore all aspects of RSE and not just the basics improves the likelihood for young people who are having difficulties in this area to get the help they need.

Lennie

to help equip my children for life; provide them with a safe place to explore their ideas and understanding

Katie (parent)

It is essential for the current and future health and well-being of every individual. Uninformed young people are not equipped to protect themselves from persons who would take advantage of their vulnerability.
Without RSE, individuals are not equipped to recognise consent, make informed choices about relationships, sex, or pregnancy and are vulnerable to misinformation from individuals with ill-judged or malicious intent.
RSE is a public health issue, and if you wish to look at this from a purely financial stance, RSE reduces the costs of STI management, unintended pregnancy, sexual assault, and chronic SH condition management to name just a few.

Amanda (teacher)

I think it’s very important to educate these subjects I didn’t have much myself when attending school etc and would like my daughter and others to have the access to information they need!

Laura (parent)

I am a speech and language therapist and work with lots of young people who are vulnerable due to the lack of knowledge and understanding around SRE. The need high quality RSE so that they can keep safe and enjoy sex and relationships on their terms.

Tina

It is integral to the development of children’s self esteem, identity, understanding of consent, building health relationships and understanding the importance of inclusion and belonging.

Lauren, Southend On Sea (teacher and parent)

It allows young people control over their bodies, relationships and sexuality. This allows for them to make informed decisions and to navigate through these things safely and with the support and trust of others, whilst also understanding risk management. I also believe it is important for everyone to be able explore these topics in a safe, insightful and non-judgemental manner which reduces negative preconceived notions and opens up important dialogues thus allowing young people to freely express their opinions, questions and concerns. Promoting RSE opens up safe-spaces where young people can understand what is normal and when they, or others involved with them, may require extra support or intervention.

Eloise, London

I regularly go into schools and am continually worried by the misconceptions and misinformation young people have
Without the highest quality, regular, ongoing RSE, the situation will not improve and our young people and their relationships will suffer

Leesa, Newcastle Upon Tyne (teacher)

It is so incredibly important to have high quality, inclusive and easily accessible relationship and sex education. It terrifies me hearing/seeing how unaware and/or ignorant to their own autonomy. We need high-quality RSE to protect, educate and support the individuals in need.

Chelsea

I grew up without good RSE. I learnt about gay sex via YouTube and porn. I didn’t know everything I should have about sex when I first started dating which was not only embarrassing but also left me vulnerable.

Martin

It promotes safe and consensual sex, helps support and protect LGBTQIA + people and fosters better mental health among young people.

Sarah (teacher and parent)

I believe all people have the right to evidence based and inclusive knowledge about their body, their health, and their sexuality, and to the opportunity to ask questions about them in a safe, non-judgemental environment.

Erin (young person)

Consistency across schools necessary to support young people’s healthy and safe relationships.

If not offered at school e.g. doesn’t cover lgbt sex and relationships, young people seek this out online, difficult to protect from misinformation

Grace (young person)

Young people deserve to have a safe and supportive environment to learn about sex and relationships. A collaborative, honest, safeguarded, and expert conversation that happens throughout a young person’s school life, not just for 3 hours over 15 years, is important for modelling open communication about sex and relationships in society as a whole, and within young people’s own relationships. I think that with this foundation, themes of respect and informed consent will be more a part of sex and relationships. This could eventually lead to a reduction in the amount of sexual violence that happens for young people and adults, a topic that it is imperative to include in comprehensive sex and relationships education.

Daisy (teacher)

As someone who was exposed to sexual activity and content in an inappropriate way as a child, I wish I had better education so that I could have protected myself better and understood that the people doing these things didn’t love me, they took advantage. Knowledge is power, the more information you have access to, the more you can make informed decisions for yourself.

Hazel

It is important that we have access to reliable information about ourselves and our bodies – if it isn’t provided, we will find it ourselves.

Hannah (young person)

It is vital for safeguarding our young people in an ever changing world.

Louise (teacher), Huddersfield

I needed this when I was a young person.

Georgina

As a teacher, I witness everyday the damages of poorly designed and delivered RSE. Many of my colleagues lack the knowledge and confidence to tackle these topics appropriately and a large section of parents is falling for the negative rhetoric promoted by politicians and legacy and social media. I am growing scared of the ignorance of young people regarding their bodies, sexuality and healthy relationships, and of the alarming rise in homophobic and transphobic behaviours.

Enya, (teacher), Retford

It is crucial that every young person has the opportunity to learn in depth and high quality RSE to better their understanding of those around them, themselves and the world. Information, safety and inclusivity are so important.

Elise (young person)

Access to high quality RSE is critical to young people to ensure they are empowered to make informed decisions about their sexual health and wellbeing. The internet has brought unprecedented levels of access to imagery, video content and other content that can be harmful, misogynistic and toxic and young people need to be supported to deal with this. Understanding healthy relationships and how to ensure these are formed is vital and requires guidance, schools are uniquely placed to provide this consistent, quality messaging to ensure young people have a judgement free place to ask questions, seek more information and find safety if facing any issues concerning their health and wellbeing.

Ella, Coventry

young people deserve to live in a society where sexual violence fails to exist, where victims are not blamed and where sex is about pleasure, not about the degradation of women.

Joëlle (young person)

I know that good, quality and RSHE in schools helps keep young people safe from harm.

Jo, Leigh on Sea

It is essential to making sure young people are safe in their relationships and safe full stop!

Iqra (young person)

My experience of RSE was so much better than others my age that attended other schools, but it still left a large gap in my knowledge that I had to learn from experience. RSE that is not comprehensive leaves it up to young people to find other sources to fill these gaps, and this leaves them open to misinformation and scaremongering.

Elijah (young person)

It is absolutely vital that children and young people know and understand how to approach, navigate and manage relationships of all sorts. They are key to a happy and productive life – whether that be family, sexual partners, friends or colleagues. By introducing basic concepts at a young age such as keeping safe, talking to a trusted person and consent, we can equip our children with the skills they need to support them building and maintaining healthy relationships. As they get older, we can build on these skills to help them further navigate relationships as they think about partners or sex. Why would we not want to help them with these fundamental things? High quality RSE does all of this in a safe and consistent way, meets children and young people where they are at and ensures they know where to go for help and support if they need it.

Rachel

It is the foundation for safe and loving relationships

Maria (teacher)

It is so important for the overall health and well-being of everyone to have an inclusive, high quality and well rounded RSE. When I have finished university I am planning to do a course to become an RSE educator!

Alexandria (young person)

I know personally the impact low and high-quality education about sex and relationships can have on a person! Our happiness and wellbeing are so linked to relationships and sex, so providing young people with high-quality accessible information can help everyone lead a happier life.

Rosie, London

I have worked with young people over the last 10 years and the messages are the same. Young people want reliable, factual and inclusive education about relationships, sex, and health, and they want to receive it from a trusted source, such as in schools, or at home. If they are denied this right, they will look elsewhere to understand their bodies, their health, their identity and that is through their peers and online. Young people now, more than ever, have so much information to navigate, and by providing them with an evidence-based curriculum in a safe space, to support their physical and emotional development, they will live happily and healthy lives. I hope we listen more to what young people want from RSE, and ask teachers and parents how we can support them to get it right.

Sarah, Liverpool

It allows students to navigate tricky situations armed with facts and an understanding of risks and rewards.

Maria (teacher)

I want my children, and all young people, to have the knowledge that they need to understand their bodies, sex and relationships to enable them to make informed decisions, be safe and thrive. Without excellent high-quality, inclusive Relationships Sex and Health Education our young people are vulnerable. Education is the best defence against many of the risks in our society. I want our young to go into the world empowered by knowledge and confidence.

Kathleen (parent), Slough

As a parent, I wholeheartedly support RSE because it empowers our children to respect themselves and others, fostering a safer, more inclusive society for everyone.

Louise (parent)

I am a PSHE/RSE lead in a primary school and have the good fortune of teaching PGCE students about the curriculum, including statutory 2020 guidance. It is vital that young people are properly equipped with information that can help them navigate life’s challenges.

Rosie (teacher)

I support RSE because I have a young son and my hope for him is that he grows up in an educated, tolerant world where people take the time to develop and nurture healthy relationships that are based on understanding and mutual respect.

Owen (parent)

I HAVE COME TO REALISE THIS IS NOT TOMETHING TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS (OR AT LEARST NOT IN MY DAUGHTERS SCHOOL) AND NOW AGED 16 SHE IS ASKING ME QUESTIONS. I AM VERY LUCKY, WE HAVE A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP AND SHE FEELS SHE CAN ASK ME HOWEVER SOME YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOT AS FORTUNATE.

Laura-jayne (parent)

I think it is so important to ensure we give our young people as much information as possible on topics such as these so they can develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive now and in the future.

Natalie (parent)

I work in schools and have seen the positive difference high quality rshe makes to young people’s outcomes, confidence and quality of life.

Natasha

I believe its every young persons right to be taught RSE so they can grow knowing the basics of there body’s and understand what good healthy relationships are and be able to form these healthy relationships as they learn more about themselves and others.

Leanne (parent), Cornwall

All children and young people should be given the skills and knowledge they need to understand their own bodies and emotions, make empowered, healthy choices and develop safe, happy relationships.

Sam (parent)

It is vital to allow us all to make informed, empowered decisions about our bodies, without external influence. Comprehensive relationship and sex education unlocks possibilities, grants choices to young people, and keeps everyone safe.

Florie, London

Everyone deserves access to comprehensive education, in order to make the best decisions for themselves and their sexual health. Whatever the question or query, people deserve to know the truth about their own sexual health.

Rachel (young person)

Children and young people need these skills to equip them for life. Understanding consent, healthy relationships, how to make informed choices are vital skills, and not just for navigating relationships. Young people should be supported by high quality RSE and schools that are properly trained. It is essential that young people are able to question media representations and to make their own decisions based on assessing evidence, and how it is relevant to their lives. My daughters received very basic RSE from a secondary school who did not prioritise these discussions – and it didn’t feel as if their experience had changed from when I was at school 40 years ago!

Helen (parent)

As a parent and trainee teacher, I see the value in this. Children need to understand the importance of mutually respectful relationships and this is key to a happy and successful life.

Louise (parent and teacher), York

I want my children to understand their own bodies and the changes their bodies will go through.
I want them to have the skills and confidence to negotiate what they do and don’t want from other people
I want them to appreciate that their friends have families that look different to theirs.
I want them to call out sexism and misogyny.
I want them to call out inappropriate behaviour when they see it.
I want them not to assume that their friends are heterosexual.
I want them to be allies to their trans peers.
I want them to have all the knowledge and confidence I didn’t have as a young person.
I want them to feel they can be exactly who they.
I want them to have good RSE – and will fight to make sure they do

Laura (parent), Hull

It gives our children age-appropriate in-depth teaching so they can feel empowered to make informative & hopefully respectful choices.
It’s important to tackle misogyny.
Shame & stigma can kill.
Statistics show that comprehensive RSE creates more positive health outcomes.
It offers everyone to be a part of the conversation and learning, not just from a reproductive heteronormative perspective.

Catriona, London

It is needed to keep our young people safe, as well as physically and mentally well. The subject needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs of our children and young people in an everchanging society. It needs to be inclusive, reflecting the lives CYP are living today to ensure no-one is marginalised nor discriminated against. It also needs to be evidence based; CYPs’ voices must be listened to.

Nicky (parent and teacher), Cheltenham

I am sick and tired of seeing my friends and close ones talk about how their RSE failed to support and protect them, struggle with their LGBTQ identity, be sexually abused and assaulted and be in unhealthy abusive relationships (all of which high quality RSE could have helped to avoid)

Eliza (young person), Nottingham
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The conversation around RSHE in 2023 has been dominated by misconceptions and misunderstanding. Learn more about RSHE below including Brook’s webpages for parents around RSHE:

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