Supporting the new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum

Teachers in Wales can now access innovative new resources that support Wales’ new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum.

Professor EJ Renold of Cardiff University has worked with Professor Cath Mercer from University College London (UCL), and Professor Jacqui Gabb and Dr Mathijs Lucassen from The Open University, as well as sexual health charity Brook on the Engaging Sexual Stories project.

This used creative arts and online technologies to produce a range of free-to-use bilingual resources which have been informed by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles ( Natsal ).

As well as providing support and guidance for educators working in secondary schools, project resources are relevant to professionals working in the area of sex and sexual health. Using Natsal-3 survey findings, OpenLearn interactive resources enable visitors to explore facts about sex and sexual attitudes in Britain.

The materials have been developed with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

The team launched the resources at a special event in the Welsh Parliament’s Pierhead, sponsored by Jenny Rathbone MS.

Relationships and Sex Education became compulsory in secondary schools in England in 2020. It became compulsory in primary schools in Wales from September last year.

Natsal is one of the largest scientific surveys of sexual behaviour in the world. It was first run in 1990 and has taken place every 10 years since.

Professor EJ Renold, based at Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences said: "As a new era for learning about relationships and sexuality begins in Wales, it is vital that teachers and practitioners are given the best, evidence-based training to ensure the new curriculum truly fulfils its aims."

Kelly Harris, Business Development and Participation Lead, Brook Cymru said: "By drawing on research and expertise from the Engaging Sexual Stories project, we were able to create a brand new, engaging and vital RSE e-learning course for professionals. The introductory course will help to develop the confidence of those delivering the new curriculum and compliments our extensive range of free self-directed elearning on Brook Learn."

Cath Mercer, Professor of Sexual Health Science at University College London and Principal Investigator for the Natsal study said: "For over 30 years Natsal has had major impacts on policy and practice, and played a key role in the public’s conversations about sex and sexual health, but these new, interactive, and evidence-based resources take the public’s engagement with Natsal to a new level."

Jacqui Gabb, Professor of Sociology and Intimacy at The Open University said: "We all think we know about sex, but this knowledge is premised on hearsay and personal experience. People need evidence-based information on sex to dispel the urban myths of sex. OpenLearn resources enable sexual health practitioners and the general population to learn about sex through interactive resources that are freely-available, engaging and fun to use."

Professor EJ Renold is a world-leading expert in gender and sexuality studies in childhood and youth. Find out more about their research and impact here.

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