Conduct of Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education in Schools
In developing the RSHP education in schools guidance, the Scottish Government has taken account of a wide variety of legislation, including that listed below:
Children (Scotland) Act 1995
"1(1) Subject to section 3(1)(b) and (3) of this Act, a parent has in relation to his child the responsibility-
(a) to safeguard and promote the child's health, development and
(b) to provide, in a manner appropriate to the stage of development of the child-
to the child; …
(d) to act as the child's legal representative"
"2(1) Subject to section 3(1)(b) and (3) of this Act, a parent, in order to enable him to fulfil his parental responsibilities in relation to his child, has the right-
… (b) to control, direct or guide, in a manner
appropriate to the stage of development of the child, the child's
… (d) to act as the child's legal representative."
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC), Article 2
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.
UNCRC, Article 3
1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
UNCRC, Article 5
States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.
UNCRC, Article 6
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
UNCRC, Article 12
1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
UNCRC, Article 13
1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
UNCRC, Article 17
States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
To this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and
material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in
accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
(d) Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.
UNCRC, Article 19
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
UNCRC, Article 28
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;
(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
UNCRC, Article 29
1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
(a) The development of the child's personality, talents and
mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
(c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.
2. No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principle set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article and to the requirements that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.
European Convention on Human Rights ( ECHR), Protocol 1, Article 2
Right to education
No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.
ECHR, Article 9
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
ECHR, Article 10
Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States
from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
ECHR, Article 14
Prohibition of discrimination
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national
minority, property, birth or other status.
Education (Scotland) Act 1980
1 Duty of education authorities to secure provision of education
(1) It shall be the duty of every education authority to secure that there is made for their area adequate and efficient provision of school education and further education.
Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, section 1
Right of child to school education
It shall be the right of every child of school age to be provided with school education by, or by virtue of arrangements made, or entered into, by, an education authority.
Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, section 2
2 Duty of education authority in providing school education
(1) Where school education is provided to a child or young person by, or by virtue of arrangements made, or entered into, by, an education authority it shall be the duty of the authority to secure that the education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential.
(2) In carrying out their duty under this section, an education authority shall have due regard, so far as is reasonably practicable, to the views (if there is a wish to express them) of the child or young person in decisions that significantly affect that child or young person, taking account of the child or young person's age and maturity.
Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, section 2A
2A Duties in relation to promotion of health
(1) The Scottish Ministers must endeavour to ensure that-
(a) schools managed by education authorities,
(b) grant-aided schools, and
(c) hostels provided and maintained by education authorities for pupils,
(2) An education authority must endeavour to ensure that-
(a) schools managed by them, and
(b) hostels provided and maintained by them for pupils,
(3) The managers of a grant-aided school must endeavour to ensure that the school is health-promoting.
(4) In carrying out the duty imposed by subsection (2) or (3), an education authority or, as the case may be, the managers of a grant-aided school must have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers for the purposes of this section.
(5) In this section, a school or hostel is "health-promoting" if it provides (whether on its own or in conjunction with Health Boards, parents or any other person)-
(a) activities, and
(b) an environment and facilities,
which promote the physical, social, mental and emotional health and well-being of pupils in attendance at the school or residing in the hostel.
Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000, Section 56
56 Guidance to education authorities as to manner of conducting sex education
The Scottish Ministers may, as respects education about sexual matters which is provided by education authorities in the schools managed by them, issue guidance to those authorities as to the manner in which such education should be conducted; and education authorities shall, in discharging their functions as respects the provision of such education in those schools, have regard to such guidance.
Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, Section 35
35 Councils' duties to children
(1) It is the duty of a council, in the performance of those of its functions which relate principally to children, to have regard to-
(a) the value of stable family life in a child's development;
(b) the need to ensure that the content of instruction provided in the performance of those functions is appropriate, having regard to each child's age, understanding and stage of development.
Education (Scotland) Act 1980
28.- Pupils to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
(1) In the exercise and performance of their powers and duties under this Act, the Secretary of State and education authorities shall have regard to the general principle that, so far as is compatible with the provision of suitable instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure, pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
Other Relevant Statutes
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014