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Sex and relationship education (SRE) policy

In colsultation

"To embrace the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life, pupils need knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships and to build their self-efficacy." (Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education, DfE, February 2019) 

Purpose

High-quality, evidence-based and age-appropriate teaching of these subjects can help prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Our Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Policy is designed with the following purposes:

  • To provide students with the opportunity to receive basic sexual health information and acquire the skills and understanding they need to make considered decisions regarding sexual behaviour, both now and in the future. 
  • To inform students about different types of relationships, including friendships, family relationships, intimate relationships and dealing with strangers.
  • To understand how to build healthy relationships, including self-respect and respect for others, commitment, tolerance, boundaries and consent, and how to manage conflict, and also how to recognise unhealthy relationships.  
  • To ensure students know how relationships may affect health and wellbeing, including mental health.
  • To promote healthy relationships and safety online.
  • To teach the factual knowledge around sex, sexual health and sexuality, set firmly within the context of relationships.
  • To provide guidance to those staff with a responsibility to teach sex education.

How this Policy was developed 

This policy was produced by the RSE Co-ordinator through consultation with parents, the school PSHE Co-ordinator and Head of Science.

What is RSE? 

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health. It should equip children and young people with the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships and to take responsibility for their sexual health and wellbeing.

The term Relationships and Sex Education – RSE – is used in this policy rather than sex education. This is to stress that our approach goes beyond provision of biological information to also focus on clarifying attitudes and values, and developing self-esteem and the skills to manage relationships. 

Main elements of RSE 

  1. Attitudes and values. Learning the importance of values and individual conscience and moral considerations. Learning the value of family life, marriage and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children. Learning the value of respect, love and care.  Exploring, considering and understanding of moral dilemmas. Developing critical thinking as part of decision making. 
  2. Personal and social skills. Learning to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively. Developing self-respect and empathy for others. Learning to make choices based on an understanding of differences and with the absence of prejudice. Developing an appreciation of choices made. Managing conflict. Learning how to recognise and avoid exploitation and abuse. 
  3. Knowledge and understanding. Learning and understanding physical development at appropriate stages. Understanding human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships. Learning about contraception and the range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services. Learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity and the benefits to be gained from such delay. The avoidance of unplanned pregnancy.

Relationships and RSE will be age-appropriate, building knowledge and life skills over time in a way that prepares pupils for issues they will soon face. They will likely focus on:  

  • Different types of relationships, including friendships, family relationships, dealing with strangers and, at secondary school, intimate relationships;  
  • How to recognise, understand and build healthy relationships, including self-respect and respect for others, commitment, tolerance, boundaries and consent, and how to manage conflict, and also how to recognise unhealthy relationships;  
  • How relationships may affect health and wellbeing, including mental health;  healthy relationships and safety online
  • Factual knowledge, at secondary school, around sex, sexual health and sexuality, set firmly within the context of relationships. 

Relationships and RSE, and will also consider age-appropriate content and guidance. We would expect this to cover broad pillars of:  

  • Healthy bodies and lifestyles, including keeping safe, puberty, drugs and alcohol education;  
  • Healthy minds, including emotional wellbeing, resilience, mental health; 
  • Economic wellbeing and financial capability.

Roles and Responsibilities

The RSE programme will be led by the RSE Co-ordinator. 

All teachers are involved in the school’s RSE provision. Some RSE is taught
through the PSHE programme and some through science and other curriculum areas. All
teachers play an important pastoral role by offering support to students. (Any teacher can be
approached by a student who experiences a difficulty regarding sex or relationships issues).
Teachers will be aided in their work by provision of resources, background information,
support and advice from experienced members of staff and access to appropriate training.

The senior leadership team (SLT) will endeavour to support the provision and development of RSE in line with this policy by providing leadership and adequate resourcing. 

The designated RSE co-ordinator will maintain an overview of RSE provision and have overall responsibility for its development. This will include keeping up to date with developments and good practice, developing the provision to meet student’s needs, providing support and resources for staff, arranging staff training, liaison with outside agencies and monitoring and evaluation. 

Non-teaching staff may be involved in a supportive role in some RSE lessons and also play an important, informal pastoral support role with students. They will have access to information about the RSE programme and supported in their pastoral role. 

Governors have responsibilities for school policies. They will be consulted about the RSE provision and policy and have regular reports at Governor’s meetings. 

Outside agencies and speakers may be involved in inputting to RSE lessons. The school will only work with agencies and speakers who are appropriate to student needs. We shall work in partnership with them and jointly plan their work within the school. 

Legislation 

Revised Department for Education statutory guidance will state that from September 2020, all schools must deliver relationships education (in primary schools) and relationships and sex education (in secondary schools). The parental right to withdraw pupils from  remains in primary and secondary education, for aspects of sex education which are not part of the Science curriculum.

Documents that inform the Academy’s RSE policy include: 

  • Education Act (1996) 
  • Learning and Skills Act (2000) 
  • Education and Inspections Act (2006) 
  • Equality Act (2010), 
  • Supplementary Guidance SRE for the 21st century (2014) 
  • Children and Social Work Act (2017)

Curriculum Design

Our RSE programme is an integral part of our whole school PSHE education provision and will cover all areas as part of our statutory requirements including families, respectful relationships, including friendships, online and media, being safe, Intimate and sexual relationships including sexual health, mental wellbeing, internet safety and harm, physical health and fitness, healthy eating, drugs, alcohol and tobacco, health and prevention, basic first aid, and changing adolescent bodies.

Meeting the needs of all learners 

Our RSE programme is inclusive of all of our learners. Young people may have varying needs regarding RSE depending on their circumstances and background. The school strongly believes that all students should have access to RSE that is relevant to their particular needs. 

Delivery of RSE

The main RSE programme will be planned and delivered through PSHE lessons. In addition certain biological aspects are delivered through Science lessons and other aspects of RSE arise in form time.

Our RSE programme will be taught through a range of teaching methods and interactive activities, including the use of quizzes, case studies, research, role play, video, small group discussion and use of appropriate guest speakers. 

Sex and Relationship education takes place within mixed sex classes or single gender groups as deemed appropriate and relevant, with the student’s usual class teacher. Should a teacher be absent it would not be undertaken by a short-term supply teacher. 

Teaching is conducted in a safe learning environment through the use of ground rules and distancing techniques so that students are not put on the spot or expected to discuss their own personal issues in class. Teaching resources are selected on the basis of their appropriateness to students.

High quality resources will support our RSE provision and will be regularly reviewed by the RSE Co-ordinator, PSHE Co-ordinator and Head of Science. 

Assessment in RSE will take the approach that students should be secure in their knowledge and understanding of the topics taught. This is very much in line with the Academy’s Teaching, Learning and Curriculum policy where retention of knowledge is given priority. With this in mind formative assessment will be a key element of all SRE lessons/provision and summative assessments will take place at the end of a taught topic.

Safe and Effective Practice

We will ensure a safe learning environment as teachers will be careful to ensure that their personal beliefs and attitudes do not influence the teaching of sex and relationships. To this end ground rules have been agreed to provide a common values framework within which to teach. 
There are clear parameters as to what will be taught in whole class setting and what will be dealt with on an individual basis. 

  • Students will be given preparation so that they will know how to minimise any  embarrassment they feel. 
  • No one (teacher or student) should be expected to answer a personal question. 
  • No one will be forced to take part in a discussion. 
  • Only the correct names for body parts will be used. 
  • Meanings of words will be explained in a sensible and factual way.   

Distancing techniques such as stories, scenarios, clips from TV programmes or case studies can provide fictional characters and storylines that stimulate discussion whilst ‘de-personalising’ discussions. This allows pupils to engage more objectively with the lesson content. The following or similar questions can be used to support distanced discussion: 

  • What is happening to them?  
  • Why might this be happening?  
  • How are they feeling? 
  • What are they thinking?  
  • What do other people think of them?  
  • Who could help them?  
  • What would you tell them to do if they asked for help?  
  • What could you say or do to persuade them to act differently?

Pupils’ questions will be answered by the teacher delivering the curriculum at the time. Sometimes an individual child will ask an explicit or difficult question in the classroom. Questions do not have to be answered and can be addressed later. This school believes that individual teachers must use their skill and discretion in these situations and refer to the PSHE Co-ordinator concerned.  

RSE involves consideration of a number of sensitive issues about which different people may hold strong and varying views. The school’s approach to RSE will be balanced and take account of, and be sensitive to, different viewpoints but will not be based on personal bias. We shall endeavour to have an approach that is educational, rather than one based on propaganda.
Pupils will be able to raise questions anonymously by having an anonymous question box available before, during and after all SRE lessons.

All staff teaching RSE will be supported by termly CPD meetings with the SRE Co-ordinator, PSHE Co-ordinator and Head of Science.

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.  

Teachers will consult with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and in his /her absence one of the Assistant DSLs.

All external visitors are required to follow the Academy’s safeguarding procedures from the point of arrival. Visitors/external agencies which support the delivery of RSE will be required to meet with the PSHE Co-ordinator before delivering any sessions to discuss content and make up of the groups. 

Engaging Stakeholders

Parents will be informed about the policy through written communication or e-mail home. 

Academy staff cannot promise absolute confidentiality if approached by a student for help. Staff must make this clear to students. Child protection procedures must be followed when any disclosures about abuse are made. 

The policy will be available to parents through the school website. 
Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from dedicated ‘sex education’ lessons. They do not have a right to withdraw their children from those aspects of Relationships and Health education.

We will work in active partnership with parents/carers, value their views and keep them informed about out RSE provision. If a parent/carer has any concerns about the RSE provision we will take time to address their concerns and allay any fears they may have. If any parents/carers decide to withdraw their child we shall work with them and their child to explore possible alternative provision.  

Governors will be informed of the RSE policy and curriculum through LGB meetings.  

Pupil voice will be used to review and tailor our RSE programme to match the different needs of pupils.

Monitoring and Evaluating

The programme is regularly evaluated by the RSE co-ordinator. The views of students and teachers who deliver the programme are used to make changes and improvements to the programme on an ongoing basis. 

Monitoring and evaluation can be informed by the Ofsted Framework for the Inspection of Schools. Whilst it is difficult and often inappropriate to assess attitudes and students’ personal lifestyle choices, much of the RSE programme of study is capable of formal assessment, particularly the knowledgeable components.

This policy will be reviewed by the RSE/PSHE teaching team by July 2020.