The Department for Education has announced changes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). These changes will come into effect from September 2020 and all schools will be required to comply with the updated requirements, making Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education. It has been 20 years since the last review of these curriculum areas, and in that time the world has changed significantly. Children now face new challenges: they have to process lots of information from different sources such as TV, the internet, social media, understand how society is changing, understand risks they may face, all putting pressure on their physical and mental health.
We believe relationships and sex education is important for our pupils and our school because:
We view the partnership of home and school as vital in providing the context to both complement and reinforce what pupils learn at home about healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online, as well as how to be healthy.
Below, we have explained some of the common questions around these subjects.
So why now?
The Equality Act came into force in 2010. The Equality Act 2010 states that it is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:
The public sector Equality Duty came into force on 5th April 2011 and requires that public bodies (including schools):
This makes it clear that promoting some of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act while ignoring others is against UK law.
What is teaching about equality?
It is teaching about:
Teaching about equality helps our children to prepare for the next stages in their lives.
Will my child be taught sex education at Primary School? Is this too young?
Sex education at Primary school is not compulsory. However, compulsory Relationships Education is being introduced in Primary schools from September 2020, to put in place the building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds. This will start with family and friends, how to treat each other with kindness, and recognising the difference between online and offline friendships.
At Wybunbury Delve we currently teach sex education to children in Year 5 and 6 (which goes beyond the existing national curriculum for science). Before these lessons take place, the school gives parents the opportunity to understand what will be taught and how it will be approached, and view any materials so that you understand what we propose to teach and how. If you continue to have concerns, you have the right to withdraw from any sex education lessons that go beyond that of the science national curriculum.
We are proposing to use the Christoper Winter Project Resources. A comprehensive scheme of work which covers all aspects of sex and relationships education for primary age children
This scheme of work, used by many schools, has lesson plans and teaching materials for Reception to Year 6. It builds on learning from previous years and revisits topics each year to cover them in greater depth. It includes lesson material on topics such as keeping clean, families, gender differences, personal space, puberty, relationships. We are proposing to use the resources for Reception to Year 5; children in Year 6 will revisit the Year 5 materials. An overview can be found here.
You have the right to withdraw from any sex education lessons that go beyond that of the science national curriculum. This is only part of the Science National Curriculum for Y5 and Y6.
We will also use the school nurse services to support with 'Growing Up Talks' to Y5 and Y6.
Is school the best place for discussions about Sex and Relationships?
It is widely reported that if children do not get the correct and accurate information about sex and relationships from a reliable source, they will find the information from other sources (friends, older siblings, website, tv) which may not be true or age appropriate. The information gathered during the Government consultation found that most children wanted this information and discussion to be provided in school with their teachers so that they could ask their questions in a safe space, and have them answered in an age appropriate way.
Does the new Relationships Education and RSE curriculum take account of my faith?
The RSE curriculum is designed to help children from all backgrounds build positive and safe relationships, and to thrive in modern Britain. Our School has a Christian religious character, and we believe that teaching about Relationships builds on our Core Christian Values of Love and Equality and is in line with the Church's teaching. The Church of England's charter for Relationship, Sex and Health Education states:
'Everyone will be treated with dignity as all people are made in the image of God and loved equally by God. All pupils have a right to an education which enables them to flourish and is set in a learning community where differences of lifestyle and opinion (within that which is permissible under UK law) are treated with dignity and respect'.
Do I have a right to withdraw my child from Relationships and Sex Education?
In a Primary School, you have the right to withdraw from any sex education lessons that go beyond that of the science national curriculum.
There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education at Primary or Secondary school as the contents of these subjects — such as family, friendship, safety (including online safety) — are important for all children to be taught.
Has the government listened to the views of my community in introducing these subjects?
The Government undertook a wide public consultation which involved discussions with over 90 organisations, as well as the public consultation on the draft regulations and guidance. This has informed the key decisions on these subjects.
Will these subjects promote LGBTQ+ relationships?
No, these subjects don't 'promote' anything, they educate. We are teaching about equality. Our school ethos says that we are respectful of everyone. We value ourselves and all others: This means that if someone is black, they are welcome in our school; if someone uses a wheelchair, they are welcome in our school; if someone is gay they are welcome in our school. Pupils should be taught about the society in which they are growing up. These subjects are designed to foster respect for others and for difference, and educate pupils about healthy relationships. RSE should meet the needs of all pupils, whatever their developing sexuality or identity — this should include age-appropriate teaching about different types of relationships in the context of the law.
In our school the teaching of LGBTQ+ will be delivered through teaching about different types of family, including those with same sex parents. All our planned learning will be taught in an age appropriate way.
We want all of our children to know that their family is normal and accepted in school. Our children will interact with people from different backgrounds we want them to treat all members of the community with the same respect. Just like racism, school has a duty of care to challenge any language that may cause offence to others, whether used intentionally or not. Phrases such as "that's so gay" or "that's a girls/boys toy" when used in a negative manner may unintentionally cause offence to a child or adult. School will challenge this language if it is used by children, parents or visitors as we want everyone to feel welcome.
We want our children to grow up respectful and tolerant members of our community. As they grow up, make more friends, watch tv, go to different places they will meet people who are gay or transgender. We want them to understand that this is okay that some children when they grow up may be gay. We don't want children growing up thinking something is wrong with them or with people they recognise who are gay or transgender.
My religion says that gay is wrong, so why are you teaching about different sexuality choices?
We are teaching about equality. We understand and respect all faiths. We recognise the tension that it can present. We are teaching children not to be afraid of difference but to celebrate difference. Any discussion or resources used will be to help your child be respectful and tolerant towards others. We are preparing the children for life in Britain. Britain is diverse and they are going to meet people who are different to them as they grow up.
We are teaching children that all families are different and your child as they grow up are going to meet people who live in different families. It is important that children learn about people — we are all different, we make different choices. They need to learn to be tolerant and respectful of people with different views. When they grow up they can make up their own minds about what is right and wrong.
What are the topics covered in RSE?
In school RSE topics will taught within our Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum. Our PSHE curriculum is split into three categories. RSE is part of the first two categories.
|Relationships||Health and Mental Well-being||Wider World|
|Families and people who care for me||Mental Well Being||Economic Well being|
|Caring friendships||Internet Safety and Harm||Enterprise|
|Respectful Friendships||Physical Health and Fitness||Careers|
|Online Relationships||Healthy Eating|
|Being Safe||Drug, Alcohol and Tabacco|
|Health and Prevention|
|Basic First Aid|
|Changing Adolescent Body|
Will this work prompt my children to ask challenging questions?
Possibly, your child or children trust you and will be likely to ask you questions to test your beliefs and opinions. Please don't avoid them, talk openly about diversity and equality.
How will I know what my child is being taught?
Teachers will include PHSE/RSE on the class holistic plan for the term. Some elements of this curriculum will be taught through whole school focus weeks e.g. Anti-Bullying Week; Keeping Healthy Week; Keeping Safe; SRE Week Teachers will notify parents in advance of these focus weeks.
At Wybunbury Delves we invite visitors into school to enhance our PHSE curriculum. PCSO Nick Jarvis and his Police colleagues are regular visitors; Cheshire Fire Service; the School Nurse service etc
Our draft policy for PHSE and RSE can be found here. It includes further details of the resources we are proposing to use within school.
The DFE Guidance on Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education can be found here.
The DFE Parent Guide can be found here.
Please complete our short survey about the draft policy. It can be found here.
Update due to Coronavirus 2020
The DfE has confirmed that relationships and health education in primary schools and RSE and health education in secondary schools will become compulsory from September 2020 as planned; however, due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), schools are being offered flexibility on when to begin delivering these subjects within the 2020/2021 academic year.
Schools that are prepared to deliver teaching in these subjects and have met the requirements in the DfE's 'Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education' guidance are being encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever practicable to do so within the first few weeks of the academic year. Schools that feel they will not be able to meet the requirements due to the impact of coronavirus (e.g. time lost in school and competing priorities) should start teaching the subjects as soon as practically possible, and no later than the start of the Summer term in 2021. In these cases, a phased approach should be used (if needed) when introducing the subjects.