Tuesday, 17 February 2015 00:00

Catholic Education Service response to Education Select Committee Report ‘Life lessons: PSHE and SRE in schools’

Press Statement – 17 February 2015

Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) is essential for young people to learn about the nature of marriage, family life and relationships, taught in an age appropriate way. In Catholic schools RSE must be taught in the context of Church teaching and with the full consultation and involvement of parents.

The Catholic Education Service (CES) submitted written evidence to the Education Select Committee inquiry on PSHE and SRE and were called to give oral evidence. We are pleased that our comments are shown within many of the Committee’s recommendations.

We welcome the Committee’s support for the role of parents in RSE. This is shown in their recommendations that all schools should be required to run a regular consultation with parents on the school’s RSE provision and that the parental right to withdraw their child from elements of RSE should be retained.

We welcome the Committee’s emphasis on relationships within RSE. The CES will continue to highlight the importance of teaching RSE within a context which considers Church teaching, parents’ wishes and the culture of the community that the school serves. We believe in subsidiarity and that Governing Bodies should be able to decide what resources are most appropriate for the school.

We also welcome funding of continuous professional development for teachers and Ofsted’s oversight of the subject. We congratulate The John Henry Newman Catholic School, a secondary comprehensive school in Stevenage, as the best practice example used by the Committee to illustrate what outstanding RSE looks like.


Currently, Catholic schools, like all other schools in England, are required to produce a written policy following the guidance issued by the Department for Education on Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).

Education Select Committee’s Report can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmeduc/145/14502.htm

A summary of the Education Selection Committee’s report can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news/pshe-sre-report/

More information can be found on Ofsted’s website about The John Henry Newman Catholic School as providers of outstanding sex and relationships education in a Catholic context https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/outstanding-sex-and-relationships-education-in-a-catholic-context

Catholic schools make up 10% of the national total of maintained schools. There are 2156 Catholic schools in England educating 816,007 pupils and employing 47,986 teachers.

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