Yes, Christians can teach RSHE responsibly

30 May 2024

Christian Concern’s Emily Bourne explains how parents and schools can constructively teach RHSE from a Christian perspective.

We have long reported about the harmful nature of explicit Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE).

When the government first announced that parents would not be allowed to opt their children out of these sorts of lessons, the problem was clear: much of the material being used was deeply inappropriate. Before the General Election was called, the government was finally beginning to recognise this.

Nevertheless, there are many exciting initiatives and organisations providing materials that properly safeguard children and teach in line with the Bible – all while complying with government guidance.

With the General Election looming and a new school year in September, now is an excellent time to find out more about these resources and to tell your child’s school about them.


The Lovewise content entitled, ‘Relationships Matter’, has 25 lessons across the 5 units: Families and people who care for me, Caring friendships, Respectful relationships, Online relationships, and Being safe.

Section 403 of the Education Act 1996 states that pupils should ‘learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life’, and these resources skilfully support teachers who wish to do this from a Christian perspective. The slide shows are extremely easy to use, with excellent notes for the teachers and activities for children.

This excellent and free resource can be used in conjunction with the primary school planner which Christian Concern produced to provide a well-rounded, compliant, appropriate and simple strategy for delivering the required RSHE in primary schools.

Lovewise also has a number of other free resources for schools cover a range of topics to support a school’s PSHE and RE curriculum. Formats include DVD and PowerPoint. Most come with a teacher’s guide or resource book.

Respect ME

Provided by The Message Trust, Respect ME offers a unique and complementary approach to relationships and self-esteem education. The organisation has Christian values at its heart and, because they all their lessons comply with DfE guidance on RSHE, they have an excellent track record of being invited into schools – also presenting them with many gospel opportunities.

For example, the course leaders can share testimonies of their Christian faith with their pupils and they will openly answer questions about their faith.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Respect ME created free online PSHE resource for schools and youth groups. ‘The Message Today’ episodes are suitable for students in KS3-5 and can all be accessed by their website and YouTube.

There is also a focus on music and other creative aspects of learning as they seek to make the Christian message as relatable a possible to young people.

Alive to the World

Alive to the World provides a comprehensive programme of values education which supports relationships, sexual, and health education in a child-centred way.

Because of the breadth of its scheme of work, it covers most government requirements as they lie within its given ethos which you can read more about here.

They seek to complement the role of parents the first educators of their children, particularly in everything which touches relationships and social skills. Parents are especially encouraged to take the lead in their children’s sex education. Sexuality Explained: A Guide for Parents and Children has been written to complement Alive to the World and is a recommended aid.

Many other organisations

We have discussed and been in contact with a number of other organisations in this space including Love For Life (based in Northern Ireland), CVE Scotland and Fertile Heart.  Websites such as ‘RSE Get it Right’ and RSE Authentic also have further resources. There is also an organisation called Faith in Kids which is aimed more at parents and church leaders to help them navigate conversation with young people on these kinds of topics.

We are not endorsing any of these organisations or resources specifically as each will vary in the style and approach they take to teaching this content, and what is considered by them to be age appropriate may also vary. It would be necessary for you as parents to browse their resources to see which you believe would be most appropriate to recommend to others.

Proactively and positively engaging with schools

As the Education Secretary has made clear, schools are required to fully consult with parents on the RSHE policy and be transparent about the curriculum they provide to children. Parents have the right to be informed about any sex education being given their children and school are required to publish their RSHE on their websites.

Write to your child’s headteacher if you are concerned by any aspects of what is being taught, especially when it comes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). The law does vary across the UK so we have written about how where you live affects what your children are taught when it comes to RSE. We have produced letter templates to write to the Headteacher, or another relevant staff member, to ask to see what materials are being used and how they are used during lessons.

When communicating with the school, rather than simply pointing out the problems with existing resources, you could recommend alternative options like the ones above. By proactively suggesting a positive solution, the headteacher may potentially be more receptive to your request as, sadly, they often don’t have the capacity to look into different resource providers due their workloads.

A live issue

We have now seen many cases where parents have found their young children asking about changing gender prompted by school discussions, or parents disturbed by discovering the story books being read to their children in PSHE/RSHE lessons or carpet times. The case of Nigel and Sally Rowe, taken up by the Christian Legal Centre, also demonstrates the hostility towards Christians which can result when schools are challenged. But the fact that the Rowes were awarded £22,000 in legal costs and a commitment from the government to reform transgender policies in primary schools, suggests that the tide is finally turning.

We are becoming increasingly aware of the damage which can be done, as false ideologies confuse and hinder our children from flourishing and enjoying their God-given childhood. We must not hinder children in this way as the Lord’s command to us is to, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them” (Luke 18:16 ESV). The resources promoted above can help us do this. May we protect our children as we should.

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