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by Tom Freeman
24 January 2019
Schools set to teach about healthy relationships, sexuality and consent as part of PSE overhaul

'Not just banter' - Holyrood

Schools set to teach about healthy relationships, sexuality and consent as part of PSE overhaul

Personal and social education (PSE) in Scotland’s school will be modernised to include lessons on healthy relationships, sexuality and consent, Education Secretary John Swinney has announced.

The announcement comes after a 20-moth review found current provision to be “inconsistent and inadequate”, especially around sexual health.

In a statement to MSPs, the Deputy First Minister said he would accept all the recommendations of the review, including teaching consent to prevent sexual harassment, updating guidance on mental health support and awareness of LGBT rights.

Swinney also announced that he would give pupils more of a say in what they cover in PSE, especially in senior years, and cut bureaucracy for guidance teachers to give them more time with pupils.

He told MSPs: “Equity for all can be achieved only through an inclusive education system. Scotland’s inclusive approach celebrates diversity and allows all children and young people to develop an understanding and recognition of difference. That contributes to the development of an increasingly inclusive, compassionate and equal society.”

The review followed reports by Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee and Equalities and Human Rights Committee.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer has campaigned for PSE to be improved since he was elected in 2016.

He said he was “satisfied with the progress” of the review.

He said: "Strong PSE provision, co-designed by young people to reflect what they know they need, should be seen as fundamental to Curriculum for Excellence. That also means giving teachers the time they need for professional development, so we are supporting those charged with delivering it.”

Councils’ umbrella body COSLA said local authorities would work with government to implement the updated PSE curriculum.

Children and young people's spokesman Stephen McCabe said: "Personal and Social Education is an important element of the work schools across Scotland are involved in everyday to ensure that children and young people develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need now and in the future for mental, emotional, social and physical well-being."

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