Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams announced the
reforms in light of recommendations by an expert panel led by
Prof Emma Renold, Professor of Childhood Studies at Cardiff
The new curriculum will become a statutory part of education in
Wales for children aged 5 to 16 from 2022 and will be known as
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).
At present, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is a statutory
part of the basic curriculum in Wales but it is down to schools to
decide their approach to the subject and this sometimes doesn't
stretch beyond the biological aspects of human relationships.
RSE represents a major departure from these traditional
approaches because it broadens this area of study and places an
emphasis on forming and maintaining healthy, happy and fulfilling
Learners will also be given a much broader understanding of
sexuality that is fully inclusive of LGBTQI+ learners and includes
wider issues such as consent, domestic abuse and respecting
Ensuring a fully inclusive curriculum
Learning Disability Wales was invited to be part of the expert
panel and contributed to
the recommendations to ensure that children and young people
with learning disabilities would be included in the new
Zoe Richards, Children Young People and Carers Manager, and
Samantha Williams, Policy and Network Coordinator, both
participated in the work of the expert panel and took the
opportunity to express the need for the new curriculum to be fully
inclusive, enabling all children and young people to engage with
it, including those with learning disabilities.
Zoe Richards said: "For too long, people with learning
disabilities have often not had access to good quality sex and
relationships education and this can lead to serious problems in
their lives. Lack of understanding and awareness in this area can
make people more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, unplanned
pregnancies, and abuse."
Samantha Williams said: "People with learning disabilities,
especially women, are more likely to be in unhealthy or abusive
relationships. Through our partnership with the Working Together
with Parents Network I have seen first-hand the impact that this
can have on parents with learning disabilities as it increases the
likelihood of having their children taken into care."
The expert panel concluded that current law and guidance on SRE
is outdated. Current provision is limited with not enough attention
given to rights, gender, sexual equalities, emotions and
relationships. It is often poorly resourced, given low priority in
schools and does not reflect children and young people's lives
The new RSE curriculum will represent a major departure from
current practice, enabling learners to engage with a broader
curriculum that is fully inclusive and respectful of all genders
and sexualities. It will also address core issues, including
consent and relationship abuse.