Cynon Valley AM welcomes Welsh Government announcement to put healthy relationships at heart of school sex education

Local Labour AM Vikki Howells has applauded the Welsh Labour Government’s landmark move to make Relationships and Sexuality Education a statutory part of Wales’ new curriculum.

As well as putting healthy relationship education at the heart of the new course, the Welsh Government has also announced that LGBT+ inclusive content will be taught in schools.

The historic move comes thirty years to the introduction of the regressive Section 28 by the Thatcher government into schools across Wales, England and Scotland which sought to ban the ‘promotion of homosexuality’, and which was overturned by Tony Blair’s government.

Vikki Howells AM said: “Healthy relationship education is something we haven’t yet managed to integrate into the curriculum, for both boys and girls, so I welcome this move to ensure our young people have the knowledge and skills to develop healthy relationships as they go through life.

“I am also proud that the Welsh Labour Government is leading the way in promoting inclusivity and diversity in our schools. This major step forward in the curriculum will go a long way in helping us challenge stereotypes and tackle ignorance and”.

RSE will places an emphasis on forming and maintaining healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships. At present 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.

Learners will also be given a much broader understanding of sexuality that is fully inclusive of LGBTQI+ learners and includes wider issues such as consent, domestic abuse and respecting diversity.

The decision to change the focus of this area of study to relationships and sexuality, as well as the decision to make it statutory, reflects its immense importance in terms of how learners understand themselves, each other, their community and society.

Wales’ new curriculum will be in place by 2022, RSE will become statutory from the age of 5 to 16, but learners will not be taught about topics for which they are not developmentally ready.