Schools minister Nick Gibb met with the Southwark youngsters helping to shape how relationships and sex education is taught.
The minister for school standards visited staff and students at City of London Academy, in Bermondsey, today, Thursday, to hear their views on why the lessons are important.
The school has been taking part in the Department for Education’s call for evidence, which asks parents, teachers and young people to help shape the new relationships and sex education curriculum.
The current guidance for teaching relationships and sex education was introduced in 2000 and does not cover more recent issues such as online pornography, sexting and staying safe online.
It is now being updated after Parliament passed legislation earlier this year to make relationships education compulsory in all primary schools and relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools.
Head of the school, Dr Jeffery Quaye, said he welcomed the DfE’s decision to make relationship and sex education compulsory from 2019/2020.
“Here at City of London Academy Southwark we observed that by placing more emphasis on relationship instead of the mechanics of reproduction we have raised students’ awareness of sexting and sexual harassment,” he said.
“Also, our students have developed better understanding of the benefits of healthy relationships, staying safe online and managing emotions.
“Through balanced curriculum changes and a new framework of teaching students, we have seen noticeable evidence of mutual respect, empathy, self-confidence and wellbeing enhanced amongst our students.”
Year 11 pupil Keana Nicholas Pipe added: “I think learning PSHE is important to help students know what to do if they find themselves in any difficult situations.
“I think it’s important to learn about consent because and through the classes I now feel more confident. I know who to ask for advice and how to make an informed choice.”
Speaking after the visit, Mr Gibb said: “It has been a pleasure to meet the teachers at the City of London Academy and to talk to the pupils benefitting from an education that teaches them the importance of healthy and stable relationships.
“We want to continue to raise the bar and that’s why we have committed to update relationships and sex education to meet the needs of young people today.
“Our call for evidence closes next week and we want as many people as possible to have their say on what the new curriculum should include.”
Teachers, parents and young people are invited to have their say on relationship education in schools here.
The call for evidence closes on Monday, February 12.