Relationships & Sex Education
Rationale and Ethos: Under the Children and Social Work Act 2017 the government committed to making relationships education statutory in all primary schools. Current regulations and guidance from the Department of Education state that from September 2020 all schools must deliver Relationships Education (primary) and Relationships and Sex Education (secondary). All schools must have a Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) policy in place and those schools who are ready to implement the updated guidance can do so from September 2019.
There are elements of Sex Education that are non- statutory in primary schools but in order to safeguard pupils effectively the PSHE association strongly recommends that schools provide a comprehensive programme of RSE as an integral part of their PSHE provision.
The parental right to withdraw pupils from RSE remains for aspects of Sex Education which are not part of the Science curriculum.
This Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy works in conjunction with the school’s:
- PSHE policy
- Safeguarding policy
- Behaviour policy
- Anti-bullying policy
- Equality policy
- E-safety policy
Sex education is defined as ‘learning about physical, moral and emotional development’. It is about understanding the importance of healthy relationships for family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality, and sexual health.
Relationships and sex education are part of the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum in our school. While we use sex education to inform children about sexual issues, we do this with regard to matters of morality and individual responsibility, and in a way that allows children to ask and explore moral questions. We do not use sex education as a means of promoting any form of sexual orientation.
We view the partnership of home and school as vital in providing the context of studying relationships between different groups of people.
Equal Opportunities: At WRPS, the notion of equality of opportunity is highly valued. We ensure RSE is inclusive and meets the needs of all our pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) by tailoring lessons according to the needs of these pupils in consultation with senior leaders, class teachers and parents, if applicable.
We ensure RSE fosters gender equality and LGBT+ equality by not allowing stereotypes to come into our teaching and promoting respect for all, from all.
RSE - Curriculum Intent: The intended outcomes of our programme are that pupils will:
- Know and understand about the physical development of their bodies as they grow into adults, reassuring them that such changes are normal;
- Know and understand the way humans reproduce;
- Have the opportunity to discuss relationship and sex education issues, at home or school, without embarrassment;
- Understand they have a right to counteract misleading or false information and challenging sexism or prejudice;
- Understand they have a responsibility to themselves to respect their own bodies and to look after their own mental and physical well-being
- Understand the importance of sexual activity as part of a committed, long-term, and loving relationship;
- Understand the importance of family life and proper care of all young creatures;
- Develop the skills of asking moral questions;
- Have the opportunity to discuss relationship issues, including issues of self-esteem, assertiveness and equality
- Develop the skills to explore human attitudes and emotions;
- Develop respect for the views of other people;
- Understand about sexual abuse (at an age appropriate level) and what they should do if they are worried about any sexual matters.
Roles and Responsibilities: The RSE programme will be led by class teachers who know their children best. They are supported by the Senior Leaders and the PSHE co-ordinators who receives training and updates in this area of the curriculum.
All of our teaching staff are members of the PSHE association where guidance documents and training materials are available. We use the Shropshire scheme of work – Respect Yourself.
RSE - Curriculum Implementation: Our RSE programme is an integral part of our whole school PSHE education provision and is also taught through other aspects of the curriculum. While we carry out the main sex education teaching in our personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum, we also teach some sex education through other subject areas (for example, science and PE), where we feel that they contribute significantly to a child’s knowledge and understanding of his or her own body, and how it is changing and developing. In PSHE we teach children about relationships, and we encourage children to discuss issues. We teach about the parts of the body and how these work. (Appropriate to the age of the children). In Year 5 and Year 6 teachers explain to children what will happen to their bodies during puberty. For example, we tell the boys that their voices will change during puberty and we explain to the girls about menstruation. We encourage the children to ask for help if they need it, providing reassurance that changes are part of life’s cycle. We alert parents to the fact these lessons are going to take place so that parents can follow this up at home In Year 6 we place a particular emphasis on health education, as many children experience puberty at this age. At School we liaise with the Local Health Authority about suitable teaching materials to use with our children in these lessons. Teachers do their best to answer all questions with sensitivity and care. By the end of Key Stage 2, both boys and girls know how babies are born, how their bodies change during puberty, what menstruation is, and how it affects women. We always teach this with due regard for the emotional development of the children (as stated earlier in this policy). We ensure life processes are covered in the Science curriculum within life cycles.
Our RSE programme will be taught through a range of teaching methods and interactive activities, including teacher led lessons, carefully managed peer to peer discussions, age appropriate video clips and input from the school nurse.
High quality resources will support our teaching, and these are regularly reviewed. All resources support and promote understanding with a high moral context and underpin our school values of Respect for Ourselves and Respect for Others and the views of other people.
Safe and Effective Practice: We will ensure a safe learning environment by preparing children for this area of the curriculum and ensuring questions can be answered honestly. We carefully choose the time of day when these lessons are delivered so children are not left vulnerable at playtimes. Before embarking on a series of RSE lessons, teachers and children will agree the ground rules by talking about mutual respect and appropriateness of language. Pupils have the chance to ask questions through a question box. This ensures they can ask without embarrassment and teachers have thinking time to reach an appropriate answer or talk to parents if the subject matter is such that this is the best response.
Safeguarding: Teachers are aware that effective RSE, which brings an understanding of what is and what is not appropriate in a relationship, can lead to a disclosure of a child protection issue. This would be dealt with in line with our school safeguarding policy, supporting the children away from the class and referring to the Designated Safeguarding Lead for school, which is: David Peterson (or a Deputy DSL in his absence: Tracy Derham, Emma Drakeley, Helen Gilbert).
Visitors and external agencies, such as the NSPCC, who support the delivery of RSE will be required to have a DBS check and follow our school protocol for dealing with safeguarding concerns. They will also be pre-warned about any children with sensitive issues around this subject or any children with SEND.
Engaging Stakeholders: We are committed to working with parents and carers by an open-door policy for discussion or concerns. Parents and carers can book an appointment with the Headteacher. We will notify parents when RSE is being taught in Year 5 and Year 6 by letter during the week the programme starts. Parents and carers currently have the right to withdraw their children from RSE content that is not part of the statutory National Curriculum for Science. Governors will be informed of the RSE policy and curriculum intent through review of the policy annually. This falls to the Curriculum committee who then report to the Full Governing Body. Pupil voice will be used to review the RSE programme through the Year 5 and 6 school councillors.
Monitoring reporting and evaluation: Teachers evaluate their planning and teaching of the RSE programme by discussion and CPD opportunities. Pupils will have the opportunities to reflect on their learning during lessons and discuss what they have learned. Pupil voice will be influential in adapting and amending learning activities.
The RSE policy will be reviewed annually in the Autumn term by the Curriculum and Standards governing body committee. This will ensure any amendments that are needed from a National agenda can be dealt with.