My Lords, I thank the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee for their in-depth consideration and report.
These regulations represent a significant step that will equip children and young people with the knowledge and support they need to lead safe, healthy and happy lives in modern Britain.
The world that children are growing up in is changing rapidly. They are encountering a more interconnected and interdependent world. This presents both opportunities and risks, as children have greater exposure to information, content and people that can and do cause harm. Evidence shows that many parents want schools to help with this. That is why during the passage of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, with strong cross-party support the Government brought forward measures requiring the introduction of compulsory relationships education for all primary school pupils and compulsory relationships and sex education for all secondary school pupils. Having listened to concerns raised about mental health, the impact of the online world and risks related to unhealthy lifestyles, we also took the decision to make health education compulsory in all state-funded schools.
It is important that at the earliest age children are taught the building blocks they need to develop healthy, positive, respectful and safe relationships of all kinds. All of this will be set in the context of, and include, teaching about personal development and virtues such as honesty, integrity, kindness, resilience and courtesy. This will give schools the opportunity to support pupils to develop an inner sense of what is right and wrong, as well as respect for others and for difference. The subjects will drive up the consistency and quality of pupils’ knowledge about physical and mental health. Physical health and mental well-being are interlinked. It is vital that pupils understand that good physical health contributes to good mental well-being
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