Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Policy
Adopted by: Priory Woods School
Date: September 2020
Introduction, Definition and Legal Requirements.
- In the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education in England paper (2019), The DfE states that ‘Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education must be accessible for all pupils’ and that ALL pupils are entitled to ‘’high quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised’. Mainstream schools and special schools have a duty to ensure that children with SEND are properly included in RSE saying that good quality RSE:
‘It is an entitlement for ALL young people regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, faith and those with physical, learning or emotional difficulties.’ (Children and Social Work Act 2017)
- Relationships Education is now compulsory in all primary schools in England. Relationships and Sex Education is compulsory in all secondary schools. Health Education and Personal, Social, Health Education is also now a statutory subject.
- This policy also addresses the requirements and strategies set out in the Education Act 1996. Sexual Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2010-15 and the Personal and Social Education Framework for 7 – 19-year olds.
Rationale for RSE at Priory Woods.
We want all our pupils at Priory Woods to be independent, safe and to be able to lead happy, healthy, and successful lives. We know that RSE is crucial to safeguarding our children. Good quality RSE aims to equip children and young people with the information, skills, and values they need to have safe, fulfilling, and enjoyable relationships. It teaches them to take responsibility for their health and well-being and to contribute to behaviour change, including reducing unprotected and unwanted sex. Good RSE also helps to reduce harmful behaviour, including sexual offences such as assault and abuse. By teaching them RSE within the safe and nurturing environment of school, our pupils get the opportunity to explore who they are, the values that they have, their relationships and their future decisions.
Our guiding principles are led by the DFE guidance, stating that all content must be age appropriate and more importantly, developmentally appropriate. All PSHE and RSE lessons that are provided in school use tailored content and teaching methods to suit the individual children. We ensure that teaching is sensitive, age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate and delivered with reference to the law.
Management and organisation of RSE
- The Governing Body has the responsibility to review and approve the RSE Policy and curriculum that sits within the wider PSHE programme of study across school.
- The Headteacher and Senior Leaders offer supervision and support to the Middle Leader responsible for RSE and acts on all Safeguarding concerns across school.
- The RSE Coordinator is responsible for all RSE delivered within the wider PSHE framework. They will provide a programme of study to all staff and adequately resource and signpost to resources in this subject area. The RSE coordinator will also identify and meet any training needs amongst staff and ensure that all staff are kept up to date with developments and good practice.
Delivery of the RSE programme
- At Priory Woods RSE is taught using class based, teacher led learning alongside sessions provided from a teaching RSE specialist in Key stage 3 and above.
- RSE is taught in a safe, non-judgmental environment where adults and children are confident that they will be kept safe and their views respected.
- Class teachers teach elements of RSE as part of the spiral PSHE curriculum.
- These lessons generally take place in pupils’ normal classrooms to ensure that pupils feel comfortable, safe, and able to participate and learn.
- Most sessions are in mixed gender groups but are supplemented with single sex sessions throughout the year when appropriate.
- Staff have access to a wide range of subject specific and SEND appropriate resources.
- Ground rules are used in all PSHE and RSE lessons and the issue of confidentiality is revisited to ensure understanding.
- Correct medical vocabulary will be used throughout the RSE and PSHE curriculum.
- We use a range of pupil communication aids such as worry boxes and anonymous support systems so pupils can identify themselves, or their needs to us in ways they are comfortable with.
- RSE is delivered through a varied range of activities and resources that ensure the curriculum is accessible to ALL our pupils. These include: Circle time, drama, themed discussions / debates, role play/scenarios, card sorting, creative tasks, sand trays, approved media, and sensory curriculum tools.
- We have a specially trained RSE educator in the staff team that is used to teach and revisit key areas of curriculum with each class on a termly basis. This gives pupils greater depth of learning and the opportunity to revisit topics away from their ‘normal’ class teacher.
- This specialist support is also used with smaller groups in response to specific situations arising during the school year including understanding menstruation, hygiene, bullying, relationships etc.
- Pre-planned sessions from the RSE specialist are communicated with parents so that they can be involved in supporting their child.
Content of the RSE programme
All RSE at Priory Woods is taught within a wider PSHE spiral curriculum model. Lessons are tailor made to each pupil and their developmental age. They are carefully designed to safeguard and support all pupils, whilst building their knowledge and life skills. The aim is that over time we prepare pupils for issues they will face as they grow up.
The curriculum helps to equip our young people to:
- Develop moral understanding
- Encourage pupils to feel positive about themselves, develop confidence and self esteem
- Develop respect for self and others
- Learn the value of respect, care, and love
- Encourage pupils to make positive choices
- Help pupils to develop healthy relationships within a moral framework
- Help pupils understand how relationships are formed, maintained, and managed
- Prepare pupils for change, physically and emotionally
- Teach pupils about appropriate / inappropriate behaviour, public and private spaces
- Encourage assertiveness
- Help pupils stay safe
- Help pupils to understand emotions and feelings
- Develop an awareness of family life and the responsibilities of parenthood
- Acceptance of same sex unions as also offering stable, loving, and committed relationships to nurture children
- Develop an understanding and acceptance of diversity
- Understand diversity regarding religion, gender, culture, and sexual orientation in line with the 2010 Equality Act and the schools’ safeguarding and child protection protocols.
At Priory Woods we use subject content / techniques that are appropriate to the age and developmental level of each child. All staff use our spiral PSHE curriculum and their judgement as to what the pupils will understand and their emotional maturity to plan appropriate programmes of work. Although categorised into age ranges below, our staff will take content from across all key stages to make appropriate, accessible, tailored curriculums for each child.
For Lower School:
- Families and people who care for me (Importance of families, healthy family lives, different types of families and marriage)
- Caring friendships (Characteristics of friendships, respect, healthy and unhealthy friendships, peer pressures, rebuilding friendships, trust and managing conflict)
- Respectful relationships (Importance of respecting difference in others, how to treat others, self-respect, and self-care, bullying and cyberbullying, stereotypes, permission seeking and giving)
- Online relationships (Keeping safe, recognising, and managing risk, reporting unsafe activity, risks in the online world, personal information)
- Being Safe (Boundaries, public and private, appropriate behaviours, secrets, keeping safe, asking for help and where to get support)
For upper school and Post 16 we can build on foundational learning with the themes below where appropriate:
- Families and people who care for me (Importance of families, stable relationships, choice, healthy family lives, different types of families, marriage and choice of marriage, responsibilities of parenthood, trust and keeping safe)
- Respectful relationships, including friendships (Positive and healthy friendships, trust, managing conflicts, different types of relationships, stereotypes, respect, bullying, control, rights and responsibilities regarding equality and harassment)
- Online and media (Rights, responsibilities, opportunities online, online risks, sensitive materials, sharing online, harmful content, how and where to get support and keeping information safe)
Being safe (Laws on consent, coercion, abuse, how to understand and communicate consent, private and public, appropriate behaviours, safety in all types of relationship and online safety)
- Intimate and sexual relationships (Healthy relationships, consent, trust, health is affected by choices we make, mental health, reproductive health, pressures, delay, pregnancy and responsibilities, sexual health, alcohol and drugs, factual knowledge about sex, sexual health and sexuality, importance of relationships, how to access help and support)
Specific sexual health issues for our school
Answering Difficult Questions
At our school, all personal beliefs and values are respected. We acknowledge that RSE is a sensitive topic and one that may evoke differing views and opinions. Despite this we ensure that all teaching is respectful of difference and is presented using a variety of views and beliefs, without bias. This allows our pupils to be able to form their own, informed opinions whilst respecting the views of others. We expect such respect of diversity to be modelled by our staff.
During formal PSHE /RSE sessions and when staff are asked questions in this subject, we trust that staff answer questions only if it is appropriate to do so. Staff will consider pupils age, developmental ability, and maturity prior to answering. Any answers may be given on a whole class, small group, or individual basis where appropriate. If a staff member does not feel comfortable to do this, this can be passed to the RSE coordinator to follow up.
If any staff member is concerned with any content/ topic discussed or feels that a pupil may be at risk, a referral to the Designated Safeguarding Lead should be made.
The nature of our school means that many of our pupils will be reliant on support for their personal care and may not have all the independence and life opportunities that are referred to in many RSE resources. The need for sensitivity around this and adaptability of teaching methods and resources will be stressed during all staff training to ensure that all pupils have a curriculum pertinent and accessible to them.
We use a wide range of resources sourced from national and local providers. We use interactive and accessible resources that are suitable and appropriate for pupils with SEND. We follow all resources on the Sexed forum RSE resources list that are specific to pupils with SEND. We then supplement with local or approved resources to enhance our curriculum. Some of these are listed below:
Lucinda and Godfrey
Base SRE Curriculum
‘Let’s Do It’ (Johns, Scott, and Bliss)
Tailored Social stories – e.g. my body belongs to me, parts, secrets should not be kept, big bag of worries
NSPCC Pants resources
Confidentiality and Child Protection Issues
Where possible and appropriate during RSE sessions, confidentiality is maintained by the teacher or member of staff. RSE discussions may prompt a pupil to disclose about related incidents; for example, FGM, Forced marriage, child exploitation or abuse. If the member of staff believes that the child is at risk or in danger or has concerns about any information disclosed, she/he talks to the named Designated Safeguarding Lead who takes action as laid down in the Child Protection Policy. All staff are familiar with the policy and know the identified members of staff with responsibility for safeguarding and Child Protection issues.
The child will be fully supported throughout such disclosures. Clear communication will be given to the child so that they fully understand why confidentiality is being breached. Pupil and staff safety and welfare will be carefully monitored at this point and support given.
Equal Opportunities and Inclusion
We strive to make the RSE curriculum an inclusive one, appropriate and relevant to all pupils regardless of age, culture, gender, ability, disability, sexual orientation, religion, experiences, or family background. The RSE policy and curriculum reflects and is in line with the schools’ equal opportunities policy.
The RSE coordinator and all school staff ensure that the content, approach, resources and use of inclusive language reflect the diversity of the school community, and help all pupils feel valued and included. RSE strives to meet the needs of all pupils regardless of their developing sexuality and deals honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation, answers appropriate questions, and offers support. Bullying of all kinds is not tolerated and any instances are challenged and dealt with as part of our commitment to promoting inclusion, gender equality and preventing bullying.
Pupils involvement in RSE
The curriculum at Priory Woods is focused on the needs of the pupils. Teachers actively discuss and obtain feedback from pupils about subject content / resources / teaching styles during all PSHE and RSE lessons. These are then fed back to the RSE Coordinator which enables us to monitor pupil’s views and make any changes that reflect this. As part of School Action Plan for Pupil and Staff Well Being, pupil focus groups are held throughout the year. These findings, along with the ongoing feedback from our school council, all inform the RSE provision in school.
In Upper School, Post 16, and Lower School (where appropriate), we will often work with young people in single sex groups. This allows us to delve deeper into the needs of each cohort, ensure understanding about changes that occur during puberty, rights and responsibilities, the issue of choice, consent, and safety. We feel that this is vital to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to ask questions and access learning in a setting that they feel comfortable. By working in smaller groups, we may also allow for more exploration of, and teaching within the context of different cultural and religious backgrounds to ensure true inclusion and accessibility for all our pupils.
Continuing Professional Development
All staff members that teach RSE across school are supported in this by the RSE co-ordinator. Support is offered through teach teaching opportunities, in house staff training and external update training. We use local and national providers and receive regular updates from school memberships to the Sexed Forum and PSHE Association. Staff are kept informed of developments in key aspects of school life that impact RSE, including links with safeguarding, inclusion, equality, child protection and antibullying, through regular training provided at staff meetings and INSET days.
Working with parents/carers and the wider community on RSE
All RSE teaching at Priory Woods is taught sensitively and inclusively, with respect to the background and beliefs of pupils and parents. We wholly believe that parents are the first teachers of their children and have a significant influence helping their children to grow and mature to form healthy relationships.
We are committed to working with parents and the wider community in getting the support for the RSE programme. We ensure clear communication channels are open and training opportunities are taken. We involve parents in RSE policy development and host curriculum meetings to discuss the school’s RSE teaching programme throughout the year. At such meetings parents are welcome to view all the resources used and discuss any issues for individual pupils. We supplement this with training opportunities for parents in RSE at home, E safety sessions and the Family Thrive six-week programme.
We communicate with parents before the specific RSE sessions take place throughout the year and encourage communication through adopting an open-door policy to help ensure that parents can discuss issues with the school staff in a positive, sensitive and proactive manner.
Parents right to withdraw
Relationships Education and Health Education is a statutory subject however parents do have the right to request that their child is withdrawn from some or all of the sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE (except for those parts included within the National Curriculum for Science). We communicate our approach to RSE including the parental right to withdraw through the schools’ website, the RSE policy, at the parent/carer meetings and in the RSE curriculum information letter sent home to parents.
We share with parents that the RSE curriculum helps us as a school to fulfil our statutory duty to:
- safeguard and promote the welfare of their children,
- advance the 2010 Equality Act,
- encourage the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of pupils,
- foster British values, and
- prepare children and young people for the challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities of adult life
Any parent/carer wishing to exercise the right to withdraw their child from part or all of RSE are invited in to see the RSE Co-Ordinator, class teacher or Headteacher to discuss their concerns and any impact that withdrawal may have on the child. Once a child has been withdrawn, they cannot take part in the RSE programme until the request for withdrawal has been removed. It is then the responsibility of the parents/carers to deliver the content of the RSE to their child as they see fit. Information and support materials are available for parents/carers to use and are offered by the staff. Pupils who are withdrawn from RSE continue with individual learning tasks in a different teaching group for that session.
Care should be taken if a related topic of conversation arises outside of a planned RSE lesson in the presence of a pupil who has been withdrawn from RSE lessons. In this instance it is important that the conversation in stopped immediately. Staff should explain that the discussion would be best continued at a ‘more appropriate’ time. The staff member must then ensure that they find an appropriate time to continue the conversation with pupils when the withdrawn child is not present.
The involvement of health professionals and external agencies
We will often invite specialist external agencies in to support the delivery of RSE. Such sessions take place in either whole class setting or in smaller specified groups. This is planned with and communicated with staff. We use our School Nursing Team, Brook Health Unit, and other verified organisations where appropriate. External agencies and visitors are familiar with and understand the school’s RSE policy and safeguarding policy in addition to being familiar with the SEN needs of our students. All visitors are always supervised and supported by a member of staff. The input of visitors is monitored and evaluated by staff. This evaluation informs future planning.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Assessment of RSE
This policy and it’s implementation are approved by the Governing Body. We ensure that all pupils have equal and appropriate access to the RSE curriculum through a thorough process of monitoring, evaluation, and assessment through our Evidence for Learning programme. All RSE sits within our PSHE framework which uses an ipsative assessment model. This type of assessment takes our specific learners into consideration and assesses them in an appropriate way for the developmental maturity, age, need, ability, and personal circumstances. Where appropriate other assessment tools may be used including drawings, mind maps, questioning and observations.
The RSE coordinator has constant dialogue with teaching staff to monitor progress and learning. A review of the provision is then completed yearly with the staff team and fed to the Senior Management to feed into our school self-evaluation process. Evaluations are also welcomed from pupils and parents from RSE sessions. Using such feedback, the RSE coordinator is then responsible for reviewing current provision to see if any changes need to be made. The policy is reviewed on a yearly basis considering the feedback from teaching staff, pupils, and parents. Governors consider evaluations and recommendations before amending the policy.
The Policy has been developed in conjunction with other key policy documents listed below:
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (statutory guidance)
- Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
- Respectful School Communities: Self Review and Signposting Tool (a tool to
- support a whole school approach that promotes respect and discipline)
- Behaviour and Discipline in Schools (advice for schools, including advice for
- appropriate behaviour between pupils)
- Equality Act 2010 and schools
- Education Act 1996
- Sexual Health and Well Being Action Plan 2010-2015
- SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years (statutory guidance)
- Alternative Provision (statutory guidance)
- Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools (advice for schools)
- Preventing and Tackling Bullying (advice for schools, including advice on
- Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools (advice
- for schools)
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission Advice and Guidance (provides
- advice on avoiding discrimination in a variety of educational contexts)
- Promoting Fundamental British Values as part of SMSC in schools (guidance
- for maintained schools on promoting basic important British values as part of
- pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, and cultural (SMSC)
- SMSC requirements for independent schools (guidance for independent
- schools on how they should support pupils' spiritual, moral, social, and cultural
- National Citizen Service guidance for schools
The Policy is cross referenced and supported by other school policies listed below:
- Confidentiality Policy
- Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy
- Anti-Bullying (including procedures for dealing with homophobic bullying) Policy
- Equality and Diversity Policy
- Keeping Children Safe Online Policy
- PSHE Policy
- Behaviour Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- School Visit Policy
- Intimate Care Policy
Review of this policy
This policy is reviewed at least every 2 years and in the light of any related issue that may occur such as any new findings arising from educational research, local or national guidance.