Universal access to the full curriculum in Wales

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed the government’s decision on the teaching of religion, relationships and sexuality education in Welsh schools.

Emphasising the need for ‘careful and sensitive implementation’ of the decision, the announcement means that parents will not be able to prevent their children from learning about religion, relationships and sexuality in the new Curriculum.

The government outlined plans for implementation which include the creation of clear guidance, resources and professional learning for schools and the creation of a Faith/BAME Community Involvement Group to hold its first meeting this February. The group will engage in the development of RSE guidance, develop a shared understanding of the new curriculum and address concerns raised by faith and community groups during the consultation.

A recent consultation also showed support for renaming the subject ‘Religious Education’. The most popular choice from respondents was ‘Religion, Values and Ethics’ and, as a result, the Education Minister confirmed the subject name would change when the new curriculum comes into effect.

Williams said: “Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that young people, through public education, have access to learning that supports them to discuss and understand their rights and the rights of others. It is essential that all young people are provided with access to information that keeps them safe from harm. Today’s decision ensures that all pupils will learn about issues such as online safety and healthy relationships.

“It is vital that we continue to work with communities across Wales to ensure parents have the right to develop, care for and guide their children into adulthood while allowing our schools to provide a broad and balanced education. We will build on the community engagement which accompanied the consultation with a long term investment in listening to our communities and finding ways to address the issues which concern them.”

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