Sex education in schools should be compulsory from the age of seven, the Liberal Democrat schools minister said today.
Primary schools do not currently have to teach sex education, however secondary schools run by local authorities do have to teach it as part of the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum.
Some parts of the PSHE curriculum are compulsory for all secondary schools (children aged 11 and upwards), but under current legislation, academies and free schools can choose whether or not to teach all of the sex education curriculum.
David Laws said in a statement: "It is vitally important that children learn all the life skills they need when they are at school, and Liberal Democrats believe that this should include learning financial literacy, citizenship and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.
"We believe that by educating children about sex and relationships in an appropriate way, we can help them to make informed choices in their personal lives."
The proposal will be included in the Lib Dem manifesto for next year's General Election. Labour has already proposed a similar policy, but the Conservatives are against the plans.
Labour ministers criticised the Lib Dems for failing to show support for the policy until now.
Seema Malhotra, Labour's shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls, said that education in this area was an important aspect of combatting sexual violence among young people.
She said: "Violence in young relationships is a huge issue, as is preventing violence in future relationships. Only through ideas like compulsory sex and relationship education can we tackle the root causes of domestic abuse and give young people the tools and support they need to make informed decisions about their own lives."