Parents will no longer be able to take their children out of sex education classes and religious studies as part of new changes to the curriculum, the Welsh Government have announced.
Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Religious Education (RE) are set to become compulsory across Wales following an eight week consultation. The new curriculum will begin in 2022.
Making the announcement, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said children have ''the right to access information that keeps them safe from harm.''
''Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that young people, through education, have access to learning that supports them to discuss and understand their rights and the rights of others,'' she said.
''Today’s decision ensures that all pupils will learn about issues such as online safety and healthy relationships.”
The Minister said she recognised the decision was a ''sensitive matter'' and outlined plans to create guidance and resources for schools.
A Faith/BAME Community Involvement Group has been created which will hold its first meeting in February.
The group will help in the development of RSE guidance and address concerns raised by faith and community groups during the consultation.
What will children be taught as part of Relationship and Sexuality Education?
Ages 5 - 7
Lessons will establish the need for positive and safe relationships and friendships. For example, children will learn about relationships with family, people that care for them, kindness and caring friendships and how to keep safe. Learning at this age will not include romantic relationships.
Ages 7 - 11
Lessons will continue to support learners’ rights to enjoy equitable, safe, healthy and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives. For example, learners will learn about gender equality, the importance of healthy, respectful relationships and staying safe online.
Secondary school learners (ages 11 – 16)
Lessons build on the child’s teaching at primary school. For example, young people will learn about the human body and how it changes over time, including people’s feelings about their bodies and their sexual and reproductive capacities and functions.
Lessons will cover a range of other important issues, such as the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, violence, staying safe online, gender equality, sex, sexuality, consent, rights and equity.
At the appropriate stage, the focus of the lessons will move to sexual health to equip young people with the knowledge they need to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress into and through adult life.