Relationships and sex education
Relationships and Sex education (RSE) is lifelong learning about healthy relationships, sex, sexuality, emotions, and sexual health. We recognise the importance of RSE in preparing young people to live safe, fulfilled and healthy lives.
We believe that effective, age-appropriate education about relationships and sex can:
- Foster positive attitudes and values of love and respect; promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- Contribute to reducing unintended teenage pregnancy and rates of STI transmission
- Lead to young people delaying first sex
- Help to protect young people by giving them knowledge and skills to make safe choices and recognise and manage risk
- Allow young people to get answers to their questions and contribute positively towards the healthy schools agenda.
- Meet our legal requirement to give ‘due regard’ to the DfEE RSE guidance (2000).
The objective of RSE is to help support young people through their physical, emotional and moral development.
- To consider social and moral dilemmas; to value and respect different types of relationships; to foster respect and responsibility for myself/my body and for others; to clarify myths and misconceptions; to address stereotyping.
- To address behaviour in public and private; to encourage self-awareness; to develop decision making skills, including critical thinking, awareness of choices and how to act on decisions made; to develop communication skills with peers, parents and other adults.
- To understand the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty; to know what help is available and how to access it; to create opportunities to ask questions and clarify ideas in a safe environment; to provide appropriate information that is relevant to the needs, age and maturity of the pupils; to improve awareness and understanding of gender and of sexuality; to be able to recognise, acknowledge and positively deal with emotions.
Roles and responsibilities
The Assistant Principal Miss Lelliott is in charge of the overall responsibility for Relationships and Sex Education, including overseeing that the policy is implemented.
- All staff will be made aware of the policy and their role within it. Training is made available through a series of in-school provision activities.
- Where issues might arise there is a clear route for referral whether the issue is an educational one or one that might involve the pastoral care team or child protection.
- Some outside agencies may be used as part of our RSE provision – they bring new perspectives and offer specialised knowledge, experience and resources, are used to complement rather than to replace our planned programme. Any professional who is involved in delivering RSE lessons follows the school’s RSE and confidentiality policies.
- When health workers are in a one-to-one situation they should follow their own professional code of conduct and meet the academy’s expectations as laid out in the staff code of conduct.
- We believe parents and carers have a crucial role to play in their children’s learning about healthy relationships and sex education. We intend that the school’s RSE programme complements and supports their role.
Delivery and methodology
Our RSE provision is designed to help improve our students’ knowledge and understanding and help them develop their own attitudes, values and personal and social skills so that they can make their own sound decisions in all aspects of relationships and sexual activity.
The RSE programme
- RSE is taught in tutor time. The programme covers basic knowledge for all students particularly around puberty, relationships and diversity; Puberty; Menstruation; Conception; Contraception; Abortion; Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS; Relationships; Sexual identity and sexual orientation; Childcare and parenting; Harassment; Accessing services.
- RSE fits naturally within PSHCE education. This helps to ensure that RSE is delivered in the wider context of relationships and that pupils are prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Some of the ‘biological’ aspects of RSE are covered within the science curriculum. These may be complemented by work in: English – discussion or written work stemming from fiction; Drama – assertive and other communication skills, conflict resolution, role-play; Citizenship – gender stereotypes and the media, topical issues; Philosophy and ethics – moral issues, religious views on abortion; Geography – family planning and population. Occasionally the school may decide to address issues relating to sex and relationships through special events such as assemblies or Theatre in Education.
- We draw on the statutory curricula for science and the non-statutory programme of study for PSHCE education.
- As issues relating to RSE arise locally or nationally we will consider addressing these in our programme on the basis of their relevance to our pupils.
- It is important that young people feel able to ask questions and that these are valued. Teachers will need to consider the age and maturity of the pupils when answering questions and consider how they relate to the intended learning for that class.
Equal opportunities and inclusion
All pupils in the school, including those with special needs, are entitled to RSE which meets their needs. In particular, we aim to ensure that the programme is relevant to:
- The range of cultures and faiths of pupils at the school and within UK society; pupils with special needs; pupils infected or affected by HIV; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils; pupils from different family settings, including single parent, adoptive, foster, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender families.
Withdrawing pupils from RSE
- The school recognises that parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the school’s RSE programme, except those parts covered by the national curriculum, that is, in science. Parents are not able to withdraw their children if issues related to RSE are addressed in other lessons.
If parents wish to withdraw their children from any part of the programme they will need to do so in writing, to the Principal.
Confidentiality and child protection
- At the beginning of a series of RSE lessons the class will discuss and agree ground rules. Confidentiality will be raised during this discussion and pupils will be informed of the limits of confidentiality that can be guaranteed by a teacher. Pupils will also be told about confidential sexual health services that can be accessed by young people in the area and informed that young people under 16 can receive confidential advice and services from health providers, including the school nurse. Teachers will not give health-care advice but can refer young people to appropriate health services without breaching confidentiality.
- Teachers and other staff may be party to sensitive information about pupils. All staff have a clear understanding of child protection procedures and of their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and have regular training on this issue. If this person believes that a child is at risk or in danger, or has concerns regarding any matter relating to safeguarding or Child Protection then s/he will talk to the Child Protection Officer who will confer with the Principal before any decision is made. The child concerned will be informed that the referral has taken place and the reasons why. The teacher will support the child throughout the process. For more details please refer to the school’s safeguarding policy.
Pupil progress throughout the year will be monitored by the review of written work and verbal contribution throughout lessons and progress monitored by the Head of Year. There will be self-assessment tasks throughout the programme that will confirm students’ understanding of the topic.
The teaching of RSE will be monitored through informal drop-ins throughout. Pupil feedback will be gathered through a pupil survey after the event to ensure it meets the changing needs of young people and reflects the views and values of the school community.
This policy will be put to Governors for approval, review and ratification every two years.
It is available to download here: RSE Policy