On 16th July 2019 in the House of Commons Emma Hardy MP (Lab) asked an urgent question to the Secretary of State for Education on whether “he will make a statement on what steps he is taking to counter misinformation about the content of relationship education in schools”. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow-up question:
Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England, the largest provider of primary education, fully supports this updating of the guidance. As the Minister says, it has not been updated for the past 20 years, and childhood has changed greatly during that time. Does the Minister agree that one of the imperatives for this change must be to protect pupils and keep them safe in the complex online world that they inhabit? My heart goes out to the children caught up in all this.
The Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb: My right hon. Friend is right that the guidance needed to be updated. It includes teaching children how to tackle the pitfalls of social media, how to recognise the signs of things such as an unhealthy relationship and how to stay safe online. These are important additions in the relationships guidance. It is an important document. People are focusing on one or two paragraphs, but we should not underestimate its importance to schools in helping children to navigate what she correctly says is an increasingly complicated and at times dangerous world for young people.