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Past event

Statutory Relationships and Sex Education: Issues of Cultural and Moral Diversity

This event is now fully booked. To be added to the waiting list please email




In April 2018, the government announced its intention to make Relationships Education (in primary schools) and Relationships and Sex Education (in secondary schools) statutory by September 2019. A process of consultation is now taking place that will shape the forthcoming statutory guidelines and the future of sexuality education in England.

However, several challenges still remain for the implementation of high quality sexuality education. Culturally and morally diverse schools represent one particularly thorny issue, both for policy-makers and for sexuality educators. In many areas of England, RE and RSE teachers will face the challenge of connecting a variety of important but ethically charged issues of ‘healthy’ relationships and sexuality to culturally and morally diverse classrooms. To be successful, statutory sexuality education will need to adequately address this diversity in both its policy and practice.

This event will bring together the best practice-oriented research from researchers and doctoral students working at the intersections of education, sexuality & gender, religion, race and ethnicity, facilitating rigorous engagement with these complexities by dealing carefully with the dissensus that arises at multiple levels, from policy formation through to parental consultation and pedagogical practice. The event aims to connect this research to those who face the challenges of cultural and moral diversity daily, enriching their professional practice. It also aims to comment on and inform the process of consultation currently being undertaken, suggesting some ways that religious and ethnic diversity might be adequately addressed in guidance, school policy and curricula.


10.00 Registration and refreshments
10.30 Welcome and Keynote
Tolerance and Justice: Issues of Cultural and Moral Diversity in the Context of Statutory Relationships and Sex Education
Professor Michael J. Reiss, UCL Institute of Education
11.30 Parallel Session 1
Room 1

Equality, diversity and faith-sensitivity: Student voices and practical pedagogies for the classroom
Jo Sell

Islamic responses to ‘progressive’ sexuality education (video link)
Fida Sanjakdar

Room 2 Framing classroom discussion of same-sex marriage
Michael Hand

Problem – What Problem?
Ruth Hilton

12.30 Lunch
13.15 Parallel Session 2
Room 1 Postsecular RSE?: Reimagining the relationship between sexuality education and religion
Josh Heyes

Prioritising relational competence in sexual decision-making

Olwyn Mark

Room 2 Sexuality in School: Retrospective Perspectives from Religious Young Adults
Sarah-Jane Page

(De)constructing cultures of consent
Elsie Whittington

14.15 Knowing Parents in Debates about Relationships and Sexuality Education
Professor Mary-Lou Rasmussen, Australian National University, School of Sociology
15.15 Refreshments break
15.30 Panel and practitioner discussion
16.25 Completion of evaluation forms
16.30 Close of conference



The BERA Early Career Researcher Network offers a limited amount of bursaries to the value of £75 towards travel for BERA Student Members only.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please complete the form with a statement on why you want to attend this event and why you need the financial assistance. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.

Event Bursary 2019 – Apply now