Relationships and Sex Education: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives

June 8, 2020 - June 9, 2020
University of Birmingham

United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain


Lancaster University


University of Birmingham

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From September 2020, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary schools, and Relationships Education in primary schools, will be compulsory in England. The new Statutory Guidance on RSE, published in June 2019, specifies what pupils should know by the end of their schooling about families, friendships, online relationships, intimate and sexual relationships, and issues of consent, coercion, safety and abuse. The acquisition of this knowledge is to be underpinned by ‘the deliberate cultivation of character traits and positive personal attributes’.

The Guidance also stipulates that all pupils must be taught LGBT content: ‘sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner’. This requirement has proved to be controversial, with well-publicised protests outside a number of Birmingham primary schools in 2019 over their positive representations of same-sex relationships. The ongoing controversy has led to criticism of the Guidance for being too vague about the timing and content of LGBT teaching.

To mark the arrival of statutory RSE, the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and the History of Education Society UK (HES) are hosting an international conference at the University of Birmingham. The conference will be a unique opportunity for philosophers and historians to reflect together on the pressing questions of policy and practice raised by this vital area of educational provision.

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May 8, 2020, 5:00am BST

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