Draft Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health education: METRO Charity’s response and resources

On Thursday 16th May 2024, the Department for Education released its new draft guidance on Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) in British schools. This guidance is now open for public consultation until Thursday 11th July 2024 and anyone can respond to the consultation.  

All children and young people deserve to have access to well-informed, age-appropriate, vital teaching and resources around relationships and sexual and reproductive health. Part of ensuring this vital information is safe and as accessible as possible means including and respecting people’s gender identities and sexualities.  

At METRO we proudly advocate for and provide inclusive, comprehensive and accessible sexual and reproductive health services. We do this because we know that young people need timely access to this information and support. Without it, they may be at greater risk of harm. We also stand in unwavering solidarity with trans, non-binary and gender-diverse youth within the UK.  

We are deeply concerned by this draft guidance, in particular with the way it contradicts the realities of what young people accessing our sexual and reproductive health services both experience and are asking for information about. We are also deeply disturbed by how this guidance echos the censorship and discrimination of Section 28 through its proposal to ban teaching about ‘the concept of gender identity’, accompanied by claims that this concept is ‘highly contested’.  

We have seen first-hand in history the devastating impact and repercussions Section 28 had and continues to have on our LGBTQ+ community. This guidance, if it became statutory, would suppress vital information about human diversity, rather than teaching about it. It would deprive young people of the opportunity to discuss and learn about gender identity through safe, healthy and open conversations. It could reinforce rigid binary and sex-based stereotypes and usher in a new era of fear, misinformation and restrictions for current and future generations. 

At this stage, schools should not change anything about their RSHE curriculum, as this is only draft guidance, not statutory. We remain hopeful that through this consultation, substantial, beneficial changes will be made leading to teachers getting clarity and consistency.  

While we take time to further review and respond to this guidance, we encourage you to take action, and respond to the public consultation on the draft guidance. The consultation is open until 11 July 2024, and can be found here

Read the guidance in full


Resources and support:

If you have been affected by this news, we encourage you to reach out and talk to somebody. You are not alone.  

Samaritans offer free help and support line 24 hours a day, 365 days per year 

Mind's helplines provide information and support by phone and email. 

 Switchboard runs a confidential LGBTQ+ telephone helpline staffed by LGBTQ+ volunteers 

  • 📞 helpline open from 10:00am-10:00pm every day 0300 330 0630 
  • 💻 chat support: switchboard.lgbt 

 YoungMinds provides mental health support for young people and children 

 Other resources: