Former union president to advise DfE on sex and relationships education

Appointment comes as government aims to make subject compulsory in schools from September 2019

Martin George

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A former president of the Association of School and College Leaders will give the DfE advice on how relationships education should be taught in schools.

The appointment of Ian Bauckham, a headteacher and academy leader, follows the government’s decision earlier this year to make relationships education mandatory in primary schools, and relationships and sex education compulsory in secondary schools, under the Children and Social Work Act.

The Act also gave the education secretary the power to make personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) mandatory in all schools.

In an answer to a parliamentary question last week, schools minister Nick Gibb said the government intended to “conduct thorough and wide-ranging engagement with stakeholders” on the matter.

He said he would set out “shortly” more details about this process, as well as the timetable, and aimed for schools to be teaching the new subjects from September 2019.

Mr Bauckham’s new role will see him speak to parents, teachers, children and other interested groups about the topics that young people today need to understand to stay safe and happy, including age-appropriate content on mental wellbeing, keeping safe online and LGBT+ issues.

He said: “As we work to update relationships and sex education and consider the role and importance of PSHE in schools, I am looking forward to meeting and hearing from a wide range of interested parties.

“Schools, pupils, parents, teachers and a range of groups with valuable experience in these areas will have important views and insights to share to help the government shape the next stage of schools’ work on RSE and PSHE.

"As a teacher and headteacher, I am pleased to be able to contribute to this important work which will help to make our young people safer and better prepared for the complex world in which they will live.”

Mr Bauckham is chief executive of the Kent-based Tenax Schools Trust, was ASCL president from 2013-14, and is a National Leader of Education.

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