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Welsh Government proposes objective RSE for all with no right to withdraw

The Welsh Government today announced it will consult on a range of education reforms, including introducing comprehensive, objective relationships and sexuality education (RSE) lessons for all children, whilst scrapping the right to withdraw from such lessons.

Wales Humanists, which campaigns for inclusive religious education (RE) and RSE and has previously provided submissions to the Welsh Government on proposed curriculum reforms, has welcomed the plans.

Other proposed changes include renaming RE to ‘Religions and Worldviews’, which Wales Humanists believes is a positive move toward inclusive teaching; but also, alarmingly, parents losing the right to opt their children out of instructional, ‘faith-based RE’.

The Welsh Government announced it is ‘minded to remove’ the parental right to withdraw from objective, age-appropriate RSE on the grounds that the subject is of fundamental importance to keep children safe and ensure their rights are protected. The Government has also announced it will rewrite the guidance for the subject to be more detailed, following concerns raised by Wales Humanists. Wales Humanists will be a part of the expert panel overseeing this process.

Kathy Riddick commented: ‘RSE is a fact-based subject designed to provide pupils with the information they need to grow up healthy, happy, and safe in modern British society. We have long held concerns that some parents opt their children out of receiving this important education because of perceived conflicts with their own religious beliefs. It is imperative that the Government stands by its commitment to give children the information they need at school to have a good level of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.’

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For more information contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or 020 7324 3078.

Read the Welsh Government announcement.

Read about Wales Humanists’ response to the previous consultations.

Read about Wales Humanists’ work on relationships and sexuality education.

Wales Humanists is a part of Humanists UK, the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefiting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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