The Government proposals will see primary school children be taught relationships education, secondary school kids will get relationships and sex education and children of all ages will receive health education.
Pupils will learn the link between physical and mental health, with lessons focused on the importance of getting enough sleep, the dangers of sexting, and spotting anxiety in their friends.
The new guidelines, some of which will be taught to kids as young as four, have prompted more than 106,000 to sign a petition calling for parents to be given the right to opt their kids out of relationship and sex education.
They will also be taught about nutrition, the importance of staying active, and recognising the early signs of physical illness – ensuring pupils understand how mental and physical health are linked.
Primary school children will also be taught age-appropriate online safety – including what to do if they come across things they are uncomfortable with, the importance of respect for others even when posting anonymously, and the risks of talking to people on the internet that they don’t know in real life.
In addition, they will learn how important it is that spending time online doesn’t get in the way of exercising, getting enough sleep, or being an active part of their community.
Secondary pupils will also be taught online safety topics, including the serious risks of sharing private photos, the impact of viewing explicit or harmful content – including how to report it and get support – as well as how the internet can sometimes promote an unhealthy view of sex and relationships.
In addition, schools will be able to access supporting information on how to teach about all aspects of internet safety – not just those relating to relationships, sex and health – to help teachers deliver this in a co-ordinated and coherent way. The new content will complement the existing computing curriculum, which gives pupils a grounding in how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully and securely.
According to the curriculum guidelines produced on Monday, secondary school pupils will also be taught about female genital mutilation (FGM) – focusing on awareness, the availability of support networks, and reminding them that it is illegal.
Students aged 11 and older should also be taught about other forms of honour-based abuse, as well as grooming, forced marriage and domestic abuse as part of a strengthened curriculum, the Department for Education said.
Teachers at secondary school will have to take lessons on online safety topics, including the serious risks of sharing private photos, the impact of viewing explicit or harmful content – including how to report it and get support – as well as how the internet can promote an unhealthy view of sex and relationships.
“So many things about the way people interact have changed, and this new world, seamless between online and offline, can be difficult to navigate. Almost twenty years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on,” Damian Hinds said.
The petition said: “We have grave concerns about the physical, psychological and spiritual implications of teaching children about certain sexual and relational concepts proposed in RSE and believe that they have no place within a mandatory school curriculum.”
It claims “the above factors have not been given enough consideration” and many of the education resources will “actually cause more harm than good, particularly when child development and psychological factors are considered.”
As the petition has been signed over 100,000 times it will be debated by MPs on Monday.