Key Policy Information for You
This section provides an overview of legislation and policy with a focus on the area of Sexual Health, Sex and Relationships and Disability. It will help you to stay up-to-date with national legislation and policy. It also keeps you updated on The Children's Society policy work. Further research can be found on our database.
The Children's Society champions the rights of disabled children and young people. We work with disabled children and young people to challenge discrimination, receive information in an accessible way and ensure they are included in ordinary everyday activities. Our policy team listens to what children and young people tell us and uses learning from our national practice base to find solutions to the problems children are facing today and build support for change among key decision-makers.
What is compulsory for schools in relation to Sex and Relationships Education is set out in legislation. The most up-to-date legislation relating to sex and relationships education is the Education Act (1996) and the Learning and Skills Act (2000). In schools, the National Curriculum secures for all pupils, irrespective of social background, culture, race, gender, differences in ability and disability, an entitlement to a number of areas of learning including SRE. In addition, under the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001) schools are required to ensure that all parts of the curriculum are meeting the needs of disabled pupils. Findings from the Disability Rights Commission investigation into health inequality (Equal Treatment Closing the Gap) suggests that due to a lack of accessible information disabled people are not able to take control of their health as other citizens might. Young disabled people should have the same access to sex education and sexual health care, and the same opportunities for socializing and sexual expression as their non-disabled peers.
Safeguarding disabled children practice guidance makes clear that disabled children have exactly the same human rights to be safe from abuse and neglect, to be protected from harm and achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes as non-disabled children. This practice guidance should be read alongside Working Together, which sets out how all agencies and professionals should work together to safeguard and promote children’s welfare. It should also be read alongside the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000)3, which provides a framework to assist in determining whether a child is in need under the Children Act 1989 and deciding how best to provide help. See page 32 for information relating to Sex and Relationships Education.
The Every Child Matters agenda introduced in 2004, seeks to improve outcomes for children and young people, to protect them from harm, and help them achieve what they want in life including, making a positive contribution, with all children and young people engaging in decision-making.
Equality Impact Assessment for National Sexual Health Policy sets out the current inequalities in sexual health, the national policies that are already in place to reduce and eliminate these inequalities, and an action plan to improve national sexual health policy by continuing to narrow them.
Promoting the emotional health and well-being of children and young people – Guidance for Children’s Trust partnerships, including how to deliver NI 50, 2010 aims to help Children’s Trust partners to develop a strategic approach to improving the emotional health of children and young people, in line with the aims of NI 50.The emotional health of children and young people is increasingly recognised as being fundamental to the wellbeing and future prospects of individuals and communities. Emotional health is nurtured primarily in the home, but we know that practitioners and services can and do make a difference.
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance 2000 on sex and relationship education in schools replaces Circular 5/94. It has been written to take account of the revised National Curriculum, published in September 1999, the need for guidance arising out of the new Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) framework and the Social Exclusion Unit report on teenage pregnancy.