Relationships, Sex and Health Education: Statutory Guidance - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 2:56 pm ar 16 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lords Spokesperson (Equalities) 2:56, 16 Mai 2024

I am not quite sure what to say about parents with weird views. As long as they are legal, I guess we have to roll with it—’twas ever thus.

It is possible that the noble Lord misunderstood what I said in the Statement about year 8. Year 8 is the age from which most children have the emotional maturity to learn about suicide prevention. There are different age limits in the guidance, which I know the noble Lord will enjoy getting familiar with.

In relation to menstruation, as I said in response to the initial question from the noble Baroness, Lady Twycross, children should not be taught about menstruation earlier than year 4. Most children will be taught from the age of eight or nine. For the vast majority of girls that will be, as the noble Lord suggests, before they start menstruating.

On the limits being dangerous, I feel that the noble Lord used quite a strong word. I do not think for a second that the Government are trying to second-guess the ability of teachers to judge what is age-appropriate for their class. As I said earlier, in a circumstance where a teacher feels strongly that it is important to teach something, as long as they are transparent with parents about it, and as long as there is transparency around the materials and they are age-appropriate, then there is a degree of flexibility for teachers to do that. Many schools and teachers asked us for clarity around age-appropriate boundaries, and that was also the advice of the expert panel.