Welsh Government seeking views through 8-week consultation
The Welsh Government has today launched a consultation seeking views on plans to ensure all children have access to the full curriculum including Religious Education and Relationships and Sexuality Education.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said that she is ‘minded to ensure all children and young people are required to study RE and RSE in the new curriculum’ as opposed to the current practice where parents can prevent their children from attending RE and RSE lessons.
The Welsh Government has now launched an 8-week consultation on the implications of the decision in schools to gather a broad range of views before taking a final decision.
Throughout the consultation the Welsh Government will gather feedback from parent, learners and interested groups across Wales.
It is also inviting people to share their views through an online consultation which will be launched midday on 3 October.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
Our vision is for an inclusive education system where all learners can participate in, benefit from and enjoy learning across all subjects.
Our responsibility as a government is to ensure all young people access a full curriculum that provides them with knowledge and skills.
I am minded to ensure all pupils study RE and RSE in the new curriculum, just as they will study science, maths and languages. It has always been an anomaly that children could be prevented from attending certain subjects. This consultation seeks views on the practical implications of dealing with this anomaly.
Understanding their own rights and the rights of others is important to the fulfilment of the purposes of the new curriculum.
The consultation will provide an opportunity for parents, teachers, young people and stakeholders to help shape this important area of policy.
The minister continued:
Children should be provided with access to information that keeps them safe from harm and allows them to navigate the world in which we live. Schools are the safe and caring environment for pupils to learn together and learn about each other.
All teaching is and will be developmentally appropriate, and parents will be kept informed of what their children will learn. It must be easy for parents to engage in dialogue with schools about this and other parts of the curriculum.
The teaching and learning in each school will be able to draw on a framework we will provide in guidance.
The government is also consulting on a name change for RE, proposing the new name ‘Religions and Worldviews’.
Explaining the proposed change, Kirsty Williams said:
Pupils will explore the range of spiritual, philosophical, moral, social and cultural beliefs within their community, across Wales, and throughout the world.
’Religions and Worldviews’ better reflects teaching practice within the new curriculum, and allows for the exploration of a range of religious and philosophical beliefs, as well as other beliefs and world views, including non-religious world views.
Viv Laing, policy and public affairs manager for NSPCC Cymru/Wales, said:
It is vital that all children in Wales learn about healthy relationships, healthy bodies and how to keep safe, though expertly-taught mandatory relationships and sexuality education in schools
When delivered as part of a whole school approach, RSE – which should include age and developmentally appropriate teaching on all areas of maltreatment – has the potential to help children develop the knowledge and skills they need to recognise what constitutes abuse and how to stay safe, as well as giving children the confidence to speak out about abuse and get the support they need.
The consultation launches today and runs until Thursday, November 28.
To share your views, please visit: gov.wales/ensuring-access-full-curriculum
For updates related to the consultation, follow @WG_Education on Twitter.