The diocese has released a guidance document for sex and relationship lessons

The Diocese of Portsmouth has released guidance on sex education that encourages teachers to teach the subject in the context of “God’s unconditional love”.

The guidance emphasises the fact that parents are the primary educators of their children.

The document says: “Given that many of our young come from homes with a variety of family models, care needs to be taken to ensure that sex and relationship education is taught in the context of God’s unconditional love, with mercy and compassion, so that parents and students feel supported and not judged or excluded because their family for some reason does not meet the ideal type.

“Parents are the first educators of their children and so the staff of a Catholic school should encourage students to seek the advice of their parents and carers when requesting counselling on issues relating to personal relationships and sex education.”

There is also an importance placed on teaching with mercy and compassion especially in situations where “their family for some reason does not meet the ideal type”.

The document goes on to say that “adolescents should be encouraged and actively helped to grow towards maturity and responsibility and thus to realise the Christian life.”

The guidance also notes that the sacraments are central to students’ spiritual growth: “Constant prayer, frequent confession, receiving the Holy Eucharist, along with the cultivation of self-discipline and virtuous habits, are essential.”