Relationships, Sexuality & the Scottish Curriculum

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31 Mar, 2023

Young people receive all kinds of information and messages regarding relationships, sexuality, gender and health, and one of the controversial discussions spotlighted in the media recently is around what is being taught in schools. Steve McLeister, who is an elder at Central Church Edinburgh and a Senior Teaching Fellow at Moray House School of Education, is also involved in CVE where they are concerned about the RSHP curriculum and resources for schools. 

They have recently appointed a new project worker, Kirsty Moffat, to produce alternative Relationship, Sexual Health and Parenting (RSHP) materials for schools and Kirsty shares more about that and how Baptist churches can engage with these conversations …

“Recently, there has been controversy in the media over Relationships and Sex Education, and questions have been raised about materials being taught in schools and the ideologies they seem to promote. Young people are already receiving confusing messages about sexuality and relationships from our culture. Sex is presented as a casual recreational activity that is ‘no big deal’, yet also somehow essential to happiness and self-expression. Media and pop culture regularly show sexualised images, and exposure to pornography is increasingly common for children at younger ages. 

It has also become difficult to express differing views on complex topics like sexuality and gender. This may lead to concerns about the Scottish Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) curriculum, and what it promotes. Christian Values in Education Scotland (CVE Scotland) has initiated a project to address these concerns, in partnership with the Free Church of Scotland. 

CVE Scotland is a Scottish charity that provides resources, advice, networking and training for teachers and for others who support schools (schools workers, parents, chaplains and churches).

We support adults in schools to communicate the Christian faith, so that children and young people can make informed choices about beliefs and values. The RSHP project was started in order to evaluate the RSHP curriculum from a Christian perspective, and to source and produce high-quality lesson materials to be used in classrooms. 

We believe that there is a lot of positive, informative content in the RSHP materials produced by Education Scotland. However, there are some topics which are mainly addressed from a secular viewpoint, with minimal consideration given to religious or spiritual concerns – even when discussing the moral significance of the topic. 

It is our view that the Bible presents a positive vision for relationships and sexuality that leads to true freedom and fulfilment, and that everyone can benefit from considering Christian views. 

That is why we will be producing lesson materials that will allow pupils to explore the moral and spiritual dimensions of sex and relationships from a broader, more inclusive perspective, rather than assuming a particular ideology or secular worldview. These lesson materials will aim to engage all pupils regardless of their faith background, and will meet the requirements of the RSHP curriculum so that teachers can use them with confidence.

At this stage, we are consulting with teachers, parents and young people about the current provision of RSHP and will be using that input to help shape and direct the new lesson materials.

If you would like more information about the project, or would like to participate in a virtual focus group as a parent, teacher or young person, please get in touch with the RSHP Project Leader, Kirsty Moffat, at

For further information about CVE Scotland and the work we do, or if you are interested in supporting our work through prayer or by making a donation, please visit, or contact us at”

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