https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/19/education-in-the-media-19-december-2017/

Education in the media: 19 December 2017

Teacher and class

Today’s news review looks at relationships and sex education and the gender pay gap.

Relationships and sex education

Today Tuesday, 19 December, the Secretary of State Justine Greening announced the launch of an 8-week call for evidence asking parents, teachers and young people to help shape a new relationships and sex education curriculum that will help them stay safe and face the challenges of the modern world.

The news has been welcomed by teachers, unions and parents and other organisations. Ruth Hunt of Stonewall said “we’re pleased to see the government taking steps to ensure lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and the issues they face, are included in relationships and sex education”. Javed Khan of the charity Barnardo’s said the plans should help keep children safe and healthy.

The news was covered by Sky News Sunrise, BBC Breakfast, and the Today programme as well as by BBC Online, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Schools Week.The TES also ran an editorial piece from Justine Greening.

The guidance is being updated after legislation was passed by Parliament earlier this year to make relationships education compulsory in all primary schools and relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools.

As part of that process, the eight-week call for evidence will invite views on age-appropriate content on mental wellbeing, staying safe online and LGBT issues in the updated subjects.

The ‘call for evidence’ aims to gather views from people across England from all backgrounds on the content of this subject. It will look to establish:

  • what teachers think they should be teaching their pupils to help them navigate the modern world they are growing up in;
  • how parents expect their children to be taught this topic in a safe and age-appropriate way; and
  • what children themselves think they would benefit from understanding the most, and the online risks they are concerned with.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

It is unacceptable that Relationships and Sex Education guidance has not been updated for almost 20 years especially given the online risks, such as sexting and cyber bullying, our children and young people face. Young people must have an education that teaches them the importance of healthy and stable relationships.

This call for evidence is about giving teachers, parents and especially young people a chance to help shape that new approach and I’d urge them to take part.

Gender Pay Gap

Yesterday, Monday 18 December, the majority of government departments published their Gender Pay Gap data. This comes ahead of new rules that will come into force next year compelling many organisations to report their gender pay gaps in order to shine a light on issues.

The overall pay gap is 12.7 per cent, down from 13.6 per cent last year. This is significantly better than in the wider public sector where the gender pay gap is 19.4 per cent and the private sector where the gap is 23.7 per cent.

The Department for Education led the way in reporting its gender pay gap – 5.3 per cent – in June, becoming the first Government department to do so.

We have gone further than ever before in tackling the gender pay gap, and we are committed to tackling this issue where it exists.

Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, said:

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the people we serve is one of my top priorities as Head of the Civil Service. Today’s gender pay gap publication is in line with the Government’s new reporting requirements which will help to make workplaces across the UK fairer.

I am pleased that all ministerial departments in scope of the regulations have now reported their figures, over three months before the statutory deadline, and outlined what action they will take to reduce the gap. As set out in the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy launched earlier this year, I am committed to improving the gender balance at all grades and across all departments, agencies, functions and professions.

Read more about the relationships and sex education call for evidence launch here.