Success in Wales as the Senedd approves RSE Code requiring rights-based teaching

15 December, 2021

The Senedd yesterday approved the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Code as part of the new Curriculum for Wales. The RSE Code, together with associated guidance, sets out the core learning that must be covered in the subject, as well as the principles of delivering quality RSE and the law that underpins it.

The RSE Code makes clear the need for education that provides support, respect, understanding, and equitable treatment for all, regardless of sex, gender, sexuality, faith, or belief.

The Code and Statutory Guidance makes direct references to violence against women and girls as education is identified as key to changing attitudes and behaviour to make our society safer for everyone.

There will be no parental right to withdraw children from RSE when the new curriculum commences in September 2022. This means that all children in Wales will have access to consistent, rights-based education in the area of relationships and sexuality. All schools, even those of a religious character, will be required to deliver RSE to the Code and guidance and not from a faith-based perspective. As a result, resources like Catholic RSE programme A Fertile Heart will not be permitted to be used to teach RSE in any school in Wales. Wales Humanists previously raised concerns about this resource because it teaches that ‘man was created to be the initiator in sexual relationships’ and women, ‘receiver-responders’. It also claims the contraceptive pill is dangerous, uses a video resource that likens same-sex marriage to polygamy, and argues that gay and lesbian people cannot legitimately marry and so must entirely abstain from sex.

Wales Humanists has worked with the Welsh Government and a panel of experts to make sure children have access to the best quality education, informed by their rights. Others on the panel include the NSPCC, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Estyn, Stonewall Cymru, and Welsh Women’s Aid.

Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick commented:

‘We congratulate the Welsh Government on the introduction of compulsory RSE which must be objective, critical, and pluralistic, in all schools. Regardless of background, all children and young people will now be entitled to comprehensive, fact-based information on relationships and sexual health, which will be fully LGBT-inclusive. Children in Wales will have the best opportunity to access the right information, supported by a Code that requires equitable treatment for all.

‘It is now critical that the Welsh Government completes a programme of professional learning to support teachers in delivering this high-quality RSE. There must also be a robust review process to make sure no further inappropriate resources make their way into our schools.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick at or phone 07881 625 378.

Watch the Senedd debate and approve the RSE Code and guidance.

Read our most recent article on the Welsh Act that makes the curriculum fully inclusive of humanism.

Read our piece on the UK and Welsh Governments failing to condemn ‘rape culture’ RSE resource used in Catholic schools.

Read our article on the Catholic Archdiocese saying A Fertile Heart authentically reflects Catholic teaching.

See a sample of resources from A Fertile Heart: Receiving and Giving Creative Love

Read our original exposé on A Fertile Heart.

Read more about our work on relationships and sex education.

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