Scottish primary students to be taught about sexual consent

Primary school children across Scotland will be taught about the importance of sexual consent as part of plans to modernise Personal and Social Education (PSE) classes.

Primary school children in Scotland are set to be taught about sexual consent. Picture: Xavier Leoty/AFP/Getty Images

Older pupils will also be given the chance to design their own lessons and decide what topics should be covered so the classes are more relevant for today’s young people.

The issue of sexual harassment will also be covered more comprehensively under the changes, which follow a wide-ranging review of PSE classes in Scotland.

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The review makes 16 recommendations aimed at ensuring the lessons – where children typically learn about sex, relationships and the dangers of drugs and alcohol – are fit for the era of social media.

It found most older pupils felt PSE lessons were not relevant to their lives and focused too much on substance misuse. It said it was “crucial” that pupils were more involved in picking topics.

The review also recommended that a new national PSE “toolkit” should be developed for schools before the end of the existing Scottish Parliament in 2021, so the subject was taught consistently.

An implementation group, jointly chaired by council umbrella body Cosla and the Scottish Government, will now take forward the review’s recommendations.

Speaking at Queen Anne’s High School in Dunfermline, education secretary John Swinney said: “Personal and Social Education is critical to giving young people the knowledge, skills and resilience to navigate the various stages of their lives and reach their full potential.

“Pupils have told us that PSE needs to be more relevant, empathetic and informative and must reflect the issues facing young people today.

“Updated consent education will be stage and age appropriate, will involve young people in the design and delivery of classes and will deliver more consistent teaching at all levels.

“The recommendations will also ensure a high standard of learning and support in mental, physical and emotional wellbeing and will give pupils greater access to mental health support.”