Barnardo’s welcomes the introduction of age-appropriate lessons on health, relationships and sex in English schools.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan

Javed Khan, CEO of Barnardo’s, one of the UK’s leading Children’s Charity said: 

“We warmly welcome the introduction of age-appropriate lessons on health, relationships and sex in English schools. Addressing these topics in the classroom will help keep children safe and healthy, and prepare them for challenges on and offline.

“We know from our specialist work on child sexual abuse across the country how important it is to teach children and young people about consent, healthy relationships, how to spot the signs of abuse and how to ask for help.

“We are especially pleased that the new guidance includes much of what Barnardo’s has been campaigning for, including the urgent issue of online safety. Although the internet offers incredible opportunities to learn and play, it also carries new risks from cyberbullying to gaming addiction to online grooming.

“Similarly, as one in 8 schoolchildren has a diagnosable mental health condition, it is particularly welcome that schools now have a clear responsibility to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

“However, we are concerned that primary schools will not necessarily include same-sex relationships in their curriculum. And that raising awareness of Female Genital Mutilation will not be mandated for primary schools.

“Overall, the announcement is a positive step in the right direction. We must now focus on making sure schools and teachers receive the right training and resources to deliver effective, high-quality lessons.”