Teachers will play a vital role in delivering the online aspects of relationships and sex education to children but need to feel equipped with the right knowledge and skills, a government paper has said.
Changes to the law have made it compulsory for all primary schools in England to teach relationships education and all secondary schools to teach relationships and sex education (RSE).
The Children and Social Work Act 2017, which became law in March, implemented the mandatory subjects with the aim of ensuring pupils are taught the knowledge and life skills they will need to stay safe, particularly in an online world.
The government’s recently published Internet Safety Strategy green paper has outlined the crucial role that education will play in raising online safety awareness.
The 62-page document explains that the compulsory subjects will ‘start with the basics, including building friendships online in the early years of primary school, through to cyberbullying and contact advice; and then online pornography and sexting education at age-appropriate points as children get older’.
The lessons will come into force in September 2019 and the Department for Education (DfE) is also currently considering whether to also make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education compulsory in all schools.
Although the DfE has said it recognises that these are challenging topics for schools and teachers to deliver successfully and it is considering how best to support schools in the delivery of training provision, there have been vocal concerns that there is currently a lack of official training available for teachers.
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, told School Weeks newspaper that the “lack of training provision seriously calls into question the government’s commitment to effectively implementing high quality PSHE in 2019”.
Consultation for the green paper will close at midday on Thursday 7 December 2017
James Southworth, Co-Founder of National Online Safety, says: “Teachers are expected to play a key role in educating children in how to stay safe online and ensure their school’s online safety activities are in line with Ofsted requirements.”
“Our online safety courses will arm all school staff with the knowledge and confidence for raising awareness of online safety with their pupils.”
You can find more information on how to protect your school online at our National Online Safety course page.