Delivery of relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education in Scottish schools - draft statutory guidance

Closed 23 Nov 2023

Opened 3 Aug 2023


This consultation seeks views on draft statutory guidance on the delivery of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education in Scottish schools.

The draft guidance is an update to guidance originally published in 2014.

Work to embed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education across the curriculum and to review the delivery of Personal and Social Education (PSE) both recommended the existing guidance be updated.

Given the passage of time and the change in social fabric, the 2014 guidance was becoming outdated in providing suitable guidance for teachers on delivering relationships, sexual health and parenthood education. The availability of a suite of dedicated resources to support teachers to deliver meaningful relationships, sexual health and parenthood education, increased the need for teaching guidance to match the current, relevant and age and stage appropriate resources now available for teachers.

There have been established principles and aims, provided by previously issued guidance, which set the foundations of good and relevant learning in relationships, sexual health and parenthood education. These have remained central throughout the development of this updated draft guidance. We have sought to ensure learning delivered by our educational practitioners is current and provides children and young people with the knowledge and understanding to ensure they can navigate the World they live in safely and confidently. This is particularly important as our children and young people interact more often online and the added risks this poses through these interactions. The learning and understanding of healthy relationships helps to reduce domestic abuse, gender based violence and ensures that the importance of appropriate boundaries is understood.

The revised guidance has been updated to reflect the recommendations mentioned above and as well as providing more detail on the process for withdrawing a child or young person from relationships, sexual health and parenthood education. The revised guidance also includes new sections on the five topics below as well as key learning points for these topics.

  1. consent and healthy relationships
  2. faith and belief
  3. gender inclusive education
  4. inclusion of understanding about differences of sex development (DSD) / variations in sex characteristics (VSC) / intersex people
  5. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education

It also includes an annex of signposts to resources for educational professionals.

Read the draft revised guidance and consultation paper.

Why your views matter

We would like to ensure the updated statutory guidance is fit for purpose and we are seeking views to ensure it is.

As the primary educators of their children, it is important for parents and carers to offer their views on the content of the revised guidance. It is equally important that, as users of the revised guidance, teachers and school staff are able to offer their views, both personal and professional.

In particular, views are sought on whether:

  • the content of the revised guidance is clear in its aims
  • the guidance provides the necessary and relevant information to guide teachers on their delivery of RSHP education
  • the specific guidance contained is accurate and relevant in providing factual and meaningful learning on the specific topics it covers
  • the resources and signposts are relevant, up-to-date and useful in supporting teachers and school staff to provide meaningful RSHP learning


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