Jeremy Miles – 2022 Statement on the Verdict of High Court on Relationships and Sexuality Education

The statement made by Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Minister for Education and Welsh Language, on 22 December 2022.

I would like to update Senedd Members on the decision of the High Court today.

I welcome the Court’s decision which found in favour of the Welsh Ministers on all grounds.

The Court rejected the characterisation of the RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education) curriculum by the claimants. The Court found that “…the content of the Code and the Guidance is consistent with the requirement to take care to ensure that RSE teaching is conveyed in an objective critical and pluralistic manner, and does not breach the prohibition on indoctrination.

“There is nothing in the Code or the Guidance that authorises or positively approves teaching that advocates or promotes any particular identity or sexual lifestyle over another, or that encourages children to self-identify in a particular way.

“…In my judgment, both the Code and the Guidance reflect the general spirit of the Convention as an instrument designed to maintain and promote the ideals and values of a modern liberal democracy, including the values of tolerance, respect and equality.”

We have been clear that RSE is intended to keep children safe and to promote respect and healthy relationships.

Now more than ever, our children need our help in protecting them from harmful content and people online. RSE should provide young people with confidence to say no to bullies, to call out harassment, and to understand that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Parents can expect the teaching their children receive to be appropriate for their children’s age and maturity: this is a legal requirement.

I want parents to understand what is being taught and what resources are being used, and for schools to take the time to have those discussions with parents. This will require time, patience and confidence-building.

Parents can expect schools to engage with them about their plans for teaching RSE and to be able to raise any constructive questions or anxieties they have about those plans. We will work closely with schools and communities to ensure that they are heard and they are clear about what their children will and will not be taught.

I would like to put on record that I am appalled by the misinformation that has been purposefully spread by some campaigners, and the additional pressure this has brought upon some schools and workforce.  I want to say to our education workforce that we will support you and we thank you for the contribution you make to the lives of the children you teach.

We will continue to work with local authorities and schools to support them in rolling out the new curriculum, help them engage with parents, carers and communities, including with resources to support teaching and learning.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.