NEW guidelines have been published to help teachers talk “confidently and sensitively” to young people about relationships.

Staff at all local schools are being encouraged to embrace the Scottish Government’s first ever national guidance covering issues such as consent, while stressing the importance of respect throughout.

It has been drawn up to help teachers, youth workers and other professionals who might have to speak to children aged 11 and upwards about relationships.

The government said the guidelines are “applicable to all romantic relationships, from those that are about holding hands to those where young people are sexually active, regardless of whether they are in same sex or mixed sex relationships”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney added: “Everyone is entitled to a healthy, happy relationship, built on respect, and this guidance will ensure all of our young people are given consistent advice to make informed choices.

“Getting it right for every child means being able to have open and candid conversations about the issues affecting young people’s lives and that must include a safe space to learn about consensual and healthy relationships.”

Groups working with young people welcomed the move.

Cara Spence, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “We are delighted that these key messages have been developed to support a range of practitioners to take a positive approach to exploring issues of consent and healthy relationships with young people.

“LGBT young people are rarely given the opportunity to explore how these issues relate to their lives, so it’s great to see the messages are inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Lisa Kirkbride, a senior inspector with the Care Inspectorate, added: “We need to be able to provide accurate information about healthy relationships and consent so that young people can better understand their rights and make safer and healthier choices and decisions for themselves.”

Read more from the Barrhead News