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AEP stresses the importance of age appropriate RHSE Guidance


Dr Cath Lowther, General Secretary of the AEP, has written to the Secretary of State for Education today to call for continued age appropriate relationship education for children of all ages, amid reports of potential changes to RHSE Guidance for schools.

The AEP believes that age-appropriate education is important for several key reasons:

  • Healthy Development: It aids children and young people in understanding their bodies and emotions, fostering self and mutual respect.
  • Safeguarding: It protects young minds from premature or inappropriate content, reducing confusion and distress.
  • Informed Decisions: It equips children and young people with the knowledge to make healthy choices about their well-being and relationships.
  • Open Communication: It encourages dialogue with trusted adults about sensitive issues.

In her letter, Cath urges the government to consider the perspectives of educational psychologists, who bring a deep understanding of the developmental stages of children.  
"Educational Psychologists are committed to working alongside policymakers to ensure that the educational content provided in schools continues to serve the best interests of all students, respecting both their needs and those of their families.

We are concerned to hear speculation that the Government may ban aspects of RHSE for younger children. Research shows that even very young children are developmentally curious about their bodies and how relationships work. Introducing sex and relationship education in a way that is carefully tailored to their level of understanding helps demystify many aspects of a sometimes confusing area. Initiating these discussions early helps normalize conversations about relationships, health and body awareness, setting a foundation for informed and responsible attitudes as they grow.

Instead of introducing bans, the Government would be better placed ensuring that education staff are confident and competent in delivering developmentally appropriate content and facilitating safe conversations. Unless they would prefer to leave that education to platforms like Tik Tok.

It is vital that the Government’s review process is informed by a broad range of experts in child development to maintain a balanced and supportive educational environment. We are particularly calling for Educational Psychologists to be involved. The AEP remains dedicated to its role in advocating for policies that uphold the psychological well-being and inclusion of children and young people across the UK. ”.





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