Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) Policy

Date created – 22/09/2020
Date reviewed – 29/09/2021
Next review date – September 2022

1. Aims

The aims of relationships and sex education (RSE) at our school are to:

  • Enable pupils to learn about what makes healthy relationships, including with family, friends and on-line, how to recognise unhealthy behaviour in relationships and how to seek help if they feel unsafe
  • Support pupils to develop self-respect, confidence and empathy  
  • Provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place
  • Prepare pupils for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene
  • Teach pupils the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies

Teaching will be age appropriate and will respect the diversity of families and faith in our community.

RSE is not about the promotion of sexual activity.

2. Policy development

This policy has been developed in consultation with staff, pupils and parents as required by the Department for Education.   We are committed to on-going consultation with families and stakeholders throughout the evolution of our school’s relationships and sex education programme.  The consultation and policy development process involved the following steps:

  1. Review – a working group pulled together all relevant information including national guidance 
  2. Staff consultation – all school staff were given the opportunity to look at the policy and make recommendations
  3. Parent/stakeholder consultation – parents and interested parties were invited to work with us on the development of the policy.  This took the form of an information pack sent to all parents and a feedback form. Parents were then invited in for further consultation meetings. 
  4. Pupil consultation – we investigated what exactly pupils want from their RSE by inviting between 25 to 30 students from each year group (Years 7 to 11) to a workshop sharing the changes. Students had the opportunity to ask questions directly and complete a feedback form for each year group at their individual workshop.  
  5. Ratification – once amendments were made, the policy was shared with governors and ratified

3. Statutory requirements

From September 2020, all secondary pupils must be taught relationships and sex education. This applies to every school whether it is maintained, academy, free school or independent.

4. Links to other policies and curriculum subjects

The science curriculum includes teaching about reproduction in humans including the male and female reproductive systems, menstrual cycle, gametes, fertilisation, gestation, birth and HIV/AIDS.

Religious education looks at family, values and morals, and the celebration of marriage in different traditions.  

Health education requires pupils to learn about the main changes which take place in adolescence, and implications for emotional and physical health.

The curriculum for computing covers e-safety.  This includes how to use technology responsibly, respectfully and securely, how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support.

There continues to be no right of withdrawal from any part of the school curriculum except for RE and sex education.

The content of relationships education is supported by our anti-bullying policy, equality and diversity policy, and safeguarding policy. 

5. Delivery of RSE

RSE will be inclusive for all pupils, sensitive to all family and faith backgrounds and pupils’ own identities.  It will be respectful of all protected characteristics under the equality Act 2010.  Protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.  The school environment reflects, values and celebrates the diversity of our community.

Across all key stages, pupils will be supported with developing the following skills:

  • Communication skills 
  • Forming positive relationships including self-respect as well as respect and empathy for others
  • Recognising and assessing potential risks
  • Assertiveness and managing conflict and difficult emotions

Skills and knowledge will be taught in an age-appropriate way.  Teaching methods are a combination of sharing information, facilitating discussions, and exploring issues and values.  Lessons will be delivered by specialist teaching staff within school as well as on occasions external specialist qualified providers will be invited as and when deemed appropriate. 

The Department for Education has set out guidance on what children should learn by the end of secondary school, under a series of themes which are set out below.  Some themes will recur throughout key stages 3 and 4, others will be delivered in the most appropriate year only.  Parents have the right to withdraw their children from lessons on sexual intimacy, sexualised behaviour and sexual health, as detailed in section 7.

Families 

  • There are different types of committed, stable relationships
  • How these relationships contribute to happiness and their importance for bringing up children
  • What marriage is, including its legal status compared to other types of long-term relationships
  • Why marriage is an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be entered into freely
  • The characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships
  • The roles and responsibilities of parents with respect to raising children, including the characteristics of successful parenting
  • How to: determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy: judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe and, how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others

Respectful relationships

  • Characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (including online) including: trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending (non-sexual) relationships
  • Practical steps for a range of contexts to improve or support respectful relationships
  • How stereotypes, in particular stereotypes based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)
  • In school and in wider society young people can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including people in positions of authority and due tolerance of other people’s beliefs
  • Different types of bullying (including cyber bullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders to report bullying and how and where to get help
  • Some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control
  • What constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable
  • Legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal

Online and media

  • Rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts including online
  • Online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online
  • What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online
  • Sexually explicit material e.g. pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners
  • Sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail
  • How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online

Being safe 

  • The concepts and effects of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and FGM
  • How people can actively communicate and recognise consent, and how it may be withdrawn, in any context

Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health

  • How to recognise the characteristics of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships
  • All aspects of health can be affected by choices related to sex and relationships, positively or negatively
  • Facts about reproductive health, including fertility and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility
  • Strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others
  • Young people have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex
  • Facts about the full range of contraceptive choices, efficacy and options available
  • Facts around pregnancy including miscarriage
  • Choices in relation to pregnancy (with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options)
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), the impact they can have on those who contract them and key facts about prevention and treatment
  • How the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviour
  • Sources of advice, including how to access confidential sexual health advice and treatment

6. Roles and responsibilities

6.1 The governing board

The governing board will approve the RSE policy, and hold the head teacher to account for its implementation.

6.2 The head teacher

The head teacher is responsible for ensuring that RSE is taught consistently across the school, and for managing any requests to withdraw pupils from sex education components of RSE (see section 7).  The head teacher is also responsible for ensuring that any young person who was previously withdrawn from sex education but wishes to receive it during the 3 terms before they turn 16 is provided with sex education.

6.3 Staff

Staff are responsible for:

  • Delivering RSE in a sensitive way, taking account of pupils’ cultural and faith backgrounds
  • Modelling positive attitudes to RSE, as with any other subject
  • Monitoring children’s learning in order to ensure they make progress
  • Responding to the needs of individual pupils
  • Responding appropriately to pupils whose parents wish them to be withdrawn from the sex education components of RSE

Staff do not have the right to opt out of teaching RSE.  Staff who have concerns about teaching RSE are encouraged to seek support.

6.4 Pupils

Pupils are expected to engage fully in RSE and, when discussing issues related to RSE, treat others with respect and sensitivity, as they would be expected to in any other lesson.

7. Parents’ right to withdraw

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the sex education components of RSE.  That means the lessons that cover physical aspects of sexual development and intimate relationships, and sexual health.  Requests for withdrawal should be put in writing and addressed to the head teacher. A copy of withdrawal requests will be placed in the pupil’s file. The head teacher will discuss any such request with parents and take appropriate action.  Alternative work will be given to pupils who are withdrawn from sex education. 

8. Training

Staff are trained on the delivery of RSE as part of their induction and it is included in our continuing professional development calendar.   The head teacher may also invite visitors from outside the school, such as school nurses or sexual health professionals, to provide support and training to staff teaching RSE. 

9. Monitoring arrangements

The delivery of SRE is monitored by S. Gill [PSHE Subject Leader] M. Featherstone [Deputy Headteacher] and Achievement Leaders in school through planning scrutinies, learning walks, teacher and student voices. 

Pupils’ development in SRE is monitored by class teachers as part of our internal assessment systems. 

This policy will be reviewed by A. Mander [Headteacher] annually. At every review, the policy will be approved by the governing board.