Young children will be barred from learning about sex and gender identity

Age limits will be imposed for the first time when children can be taught about sex education, reports have suggested. Schools will be told not to teach children any form of sex education until Year 5, when pupils are aged nine, according to the Times newspaper.

Other measures to be announced by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan will prevent children from being taught they can change their gender identity and exclude any explicit conversations about sex until the age of 13, the newspaper said. Children would also not be taught about contraception, sexually transmitted infections and abortion until this age.

The new guidance appears to be part of the government’s response to concerns that some children are receiving age, gender and health education (RSHE) inappropriate relationships. The Times reported that schools will be required to provide parents with samples of the material their children will be taught to allay these fears.

RSHE was made compulsory in all schools in England from September 2020. Existing guidance outlines broad modules of lessons which say primary school-age children should be taught about different types of families and healthy relationships.

Meanwhile, secondary school children are taught more complex topics, including puberty, sex, consent, unsafe relationships and online harm. The prime minister ordered a review of the curriculum after hearing concerns, including from Tory MPs, that children are being taught sex education lessons at too young an age.

The Department for Education said it could not confirm the newspaper reports and would not speculate on the leaks.

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