Secondary and primary school pupils in England will learn about relationships as well as looking after their mental health as part of compulsory lessons.

The government says that these lessons will start from September 2020 and cover issues that will also help keep pupils safe online.

For those in primary schools, they will have education about relationships and when they move onto secondary schools, this will be broadened to include sex education and more about relationships.

All school pupils in England will study health education as part of the curriculum.

Withdraw their child from relationships education

However, parents will have the right to withdraw their child from relationships education up until the age of 15.

Headteachers are expected to have discussions with parents wishing to withdraw their child from relationship lessons.

The government says that heads should discuss the benefits of receiving the education and the potential detrimental effects that their child’s withdrawal might have.

The compulsory health education lessons will see primary pupils being taught to look after their mental well-being and recognise when classmate are struggling.

Issues will cover why getting enough sleep and spending time with friends and going outdoors is important.

There will also be time devoted to the excessive use of electronic devices and why time on them should be restricted.

Taught about online safety and age-appropriate websites

For relationships, primary school pupils will be taught about online safety and age-appropriate websites and what to do should they encounter something they are uncomfortable with.

Also, respect for others, even should they post things anonymously will be highlighted as will the risks of talking to other Internet users who they do not know.

In secondary school, pupils will receive health education, with a focus on mental health.

This will help ensure that young people can spot signs of mental illness, including depression and anxiety they may struggle with and also in others.

There will also be information about drugs and alcohol, and how they impact mental and physical health.

Risks of sharing private images

There will also be content about the risks of sharing private images and the potential impact of viewing harmful or explicit content and also how they can report it.

The lessons will also show how online sites can promote an unhealthy view of relationships and sex.

The government guidance points out: “Schools should decide what is appropriate to teach and when, based on development, age and religious backgrounds of pupils and also involve parents in decisions.”

Pupils in secondary schools will also be taught about the illegal act of female genital mutilation (FGM) and the availability of support networks.

However, news of the new curriculum has created widespread opposition from various groups, as well as parents, with a consultation highlighting disquiet over the age appropriateness of the content for both secondary and primary school pupils.

The teaching of LGBT relationship has highlighted a bone of contention from many groups objecting to the Government’s proposals.