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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Relationship and mental health education on the curriculum for England's schools

Written by Alison Kershaw

Schoolchildren are to be given lessons in mental health and healthy living, it has been announced.

Health education will be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all primary and secondary schools in England from autumn 2020, according to Department for Education (DfE) proposals.

Under the plans, which are now open to consultation, pupils will learn about mental health and developing skills such as confidence and resilience.

It comes amid growing concerns about mental health issues among young people.

Classes will also cover physical health, such as the importance of exercise, and healthy eating and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as well as preventing health problems.

The proposals are being published alongside draft guidance on relationships and sex education.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said that good physical and mental health is "at the heart of ensuring young people are ready for the adult world".

"By making health education compulsory we are giving young people the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school."

Under legislation passed last year, relationships education is now compulsory in all primary schools, while sex and relationships education is compulsory in secondaries.

As part of the move, guidance on the subject is being updated, amid concerns that the current advice is out of date and fails to address modern day issues such as cyber-bullying, sexting and online safety.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "The government's announcement today covers important elements like online safety and LGBT issues as well as sex and relationships and mental and physical health, but does not go as far as PSHE.

"We are also disappointed to note that the government is rolling back on their commitment to statutory relationships and sex education by September 2019, with the deadline pushed back a year."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) David Jones / PA Wire.