All schools are required to have a Relationships and Sex Education Policy. We have reviewed ours at Prince Bishops and an updated draft can be found below. If a parent or carer has any comments or questions in regard to it, please contact Mrs George at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01388 451278 before it goes to Governors for approval on 23rd November.
RELATIONSHIPS AND SEX EDUCATION POLICY
This policy sets out our school’s approach to statutory Relationships Education and non-statutory Sex Education. We have based our school's relationships and sex education policy on the statutory guidance document “Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education” updated by the DfE in 2021.
The Department for Education guidance states that from September 2020, all primary schools must teach Relationships and Health Education. The teaching of Sex Education in primary schools remains non statutory, with the exception of the elements of sex education contained in the science national curriculum including the main external body parts, the human life cycle (including puberty) and reproduction in some plants and animals. Other related topics that fall within the statutory requirements for Health Education, such as puberty and menstrual wellbeing, will be included within PSHE education lessons. Within the statutory guidance document for RSE and Health Education, the DfE also encourages schools to deliver age-appropriate sex education if they feel their pupils need this information.
Within this policy, as in the DfE guidance, Relationships Education is defined as teaching about the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
Our definition of Relationships Education includes all of those elements defined within this statutory topic – these are detailed below in the ‘RSE Curriculum’ section.
Sex Education is defined as teaching children how human reproduction occurs, including how a baby is conceived. This draws on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science. For the purposes of this policy, we specifically identify any non-statutory Sex Education that falls outside of Science and those related elements (the physical changes associated with puberty) within statutory Health Education.
RATIONALE AND ETHOS
At Prince Bishops Primary School, our vision is to create a safe, positive and stimulating environment in which all members of the school community learn and grow in confidence and knowledge.
Through our PSHE programme we aim to provide children with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. In providing children with an understanding of healthy and respectful relationships and appropriate boundaries, we consider effective RSE to be a fundamental part of our approach to supporting pupils to grow into confident, caring, responsible and respectful young citizens.
RSE is lifelong learning about personal, physical, moral and emotional development. It is set in the context of clear values about the understanding of the importance of stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care, for family life. It should teach children and young people to develop and form positive values, attitudes, personal and social skills, and increase their knowledge and understanding of how to make informed decisions and life choices.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) forms part of the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education curriculum in our school. PSHE lessons are taught by class teachers and support staff, enriched by expert visitors as appropriate and necessary.
Teaching staff receive training in the delivery of the RSE curriculum through dedicated staff meetings, led by the PSHE Co-ordinator with the support of external experts as required.
As a school we are aware that the primary responsibility for providing children’s RSE lies with parents and carers. We recognise the need to work with parents and carers to ensure a shared understanding of RSE and to deliver an effective programme that meets the needs of our pupils.
THE RSE CURRICULUM
Effective Relationships & Sex Education can make a significant contribution to the development of the personal skills needed by pupils if they are to establish and maintain positive, healthy relationships. It also enables young people to make responsible and informed decisions about their health and well-being.
At Prince Bishops we use the Jigsaw Scheme of Work for PSHE, which is accredited by the PSHE Association.
We have selected this scheme as we feel it fulfils the needs of our pupils as well as meeting our obligations to provide statutory Relationships and Health Education. The content of this policy, as well as our PSHE curriculum, has been developed in relation to the needs of our pupils and in consultation with school staff, and Governors. As is required by the statutory guidance, parents have also been consulted on the relevant content within the policy. We believe that this process ensures that the curriculum we provide for our pupils is reflective of the requirements placed upon us and also of the needs of our school community.
STATUTORY RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION
As part of our PSHE/Relationships Education programme of study, children will be taught
A summary of the key objectives of the statutory Relationships Education curriculum is set out below.
Families and people who care for me
Children should know:
Pupils should know:
Pupils should know:
NON-STATUTORY SEX EDUCATION
As part of statutory Health Education, children are taught in an age appropriate way about puberty and the associated physical and emotional changes from Year 3 onwards. As part of the science curriculum, children learn in Year 5 about how reproduction occurs in some plants and animals. The DfE guidance 2019 also recommends that all primary schools have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of pupils, and this should include how a baby is conceived and born. Although sex education is not compulsory in primary schools, we believe children should understand the facts about human reproduction before they leave primary school. We therefore provide some non-statutory sex education, covering how human reproduction and conception occurs. This is included in the “Changing Me” unit in the summer term.
Children are taught:
In each year group, lessons will recap on the content of previous years as a reminder and to allow for children to “catch up” if they were not present for the previous year’s lessons.
We recognise that children in younger year groups may ask questions that cannot be answered without reference to content from older year groups. Should this occur, we will respond by telling them that they will learn about that when they are older. Please see the relevant section within this policy for further information on how teachers manage difficult questions in RSE.
We believe that teaching this additional content to pupils will ensure that they are better prepared for transition to secondary school and also support their personal and social development as the grow into young adults. As is legally prescribed, parents have a right to withdraw their children from these additional nonstatutory sex education lessons – please see the relevant section within this policy in regard to this process.
All elements of our Relationships & Sex Education programme will be delivered in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner as part of our regular weekly timetabled PSHE education programme. RSE is delivered class teachers and classroom support staff in mixed gender groups, other than when it is deemed more appropriate for topics to be covered in single sex groups; this will be decided by the class teacher after discussion with the subject lead.
Occasionally, appropriate and suitably experienced and/or knowledgeable visitors from outside school may be invited to contribute to the delivery of RSE in school, for example the school nurse. All visitors will be familiar with and understand the school’s RSE policy and be expected to work within it.
An overview of our PSHE programme is on the school website for reference (www.princebishops.org.uk)
TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES
We aim to provide an environment and atmosphere for RSE where pupils feel safe, relaxed, unintimidated, and focused; and where they have confidence and trust in the knowledge, ability and skills of staff in school. This ensures that both pupils and staff feel fully confident in engaging in age-appropriate discussions around potentially sensitive topics and themes.
To provide clarity and create a safe learning environment, at the beginning of each session, a set of ground rules will be agreed by the class based on a school-wide template.
Other teaching and learning strategies utilised in RSE (and across the PSHE curriculum) to establish a safe learning environment include the following techniques:
MANAGING DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
During both formal and informal PSHE/RSE sessions, pupils are encouraged to ask questions. Any questions from pupils are answered according to the age and maturity of the pupil concerned, and if the teacher delivering the session deems it appropriate to answer. Teachers will:
Teaching staff will endeavour to answer questions as openly as possible but if faced with a question they do not feel comfortable answering within the classroom, or that is not age-appropriate (or within the school’s RSE policy), provision may be made to address the individual child/young person’s requirements. The school believes that individual teachers must use their professional skill and discretion in this area and refer to the Designated Safeguarding Lead if they are concerned about any question from a safeguarding perspective.
If a teacher does not know the answer to a question or if a question is felt to be inappropriate, this should be acknowledged and, if considered necessary, this may be followed up outside of the classroom environment with individual pupils.
Children may also be signposted back to parents/carers who have ultimate responsibility in talking to their children about sensitive matters. We will also encourage parents to talk with school if they have any questions or queries, and if they would like advice on how to better support their child and continue learning outside of the classroom.
RECORDING AND ASSESSMENT
Pupils will have the opportunity to reflect on their learning within lessons and at the end of each unit. In addition to the pupils' self-assessment, teachers will assess through informal methods, such as observations and class or group discussions. Observations may have a particular focus; e.g. children’s listening skills, empathy etc. Quizzes maybe used before and after a unit of work to aid assessment.
Elements of RSE that occur in the science curriculum will be assessed through recorded work to establish age related expectations of knowledge and understanding.
At Prince Bishops, we use the Jigsaw Scheme of Work for PSHE, which is accredited by the PSHE Association. Jigsaw is a comprehensive scheme of planning and resources, which is periodically updated to ensure it remains relevant and engaging to children and meets all statutory requirements of PSHE. Class teachers review the planning and resources for each lesson to ensure they are fully relevant and accessible to the needs of children in their classes and tailor them if necessary. Additional resources may be used if considered appropriate. The use of resources outside the Jigsaw scheme will be in consultation with the PSHE lead and resources will be selected to ensure they are consistent with the school’s ethos and values, support our aims and objectives, and meet the needs of our pupils.
The resources we use in delivering non-statutory sex education include the Living and Growing series, used in Years 5 and 6. This series of videos is designed to provide an age-appropriate perspective and contextualises the facts about human conception and reproduction within a committed, loving adult relationship. These materials are available for parents/carers to view on request to the PSHE Coordinator or class teacher.
In providing children with an understanding of healthy relationships and appropriate boundaries, we consider RSE to be an important part of our school’s approach to 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 take these matters seriously and speak to the child away from the class as a matter of priority. Teachers will draw their concerns to the attention of the headteacher and deputy head, the designated safeguarding lead and child protection officer within the school. The headteacher will then deal with the matter in consultation with health care professionals. (See also Safeguarding Policy). We occasionally engage the expertise of other appropriate external partners to work with us to provide advice and support to children with regard to RSE and Health Education. Such visits should be arranged through the PSHE Lead and with the approval of senior leaders. These sessions are in addition to, and intended to complement, our existing RSE provision. Where external partners are involved, teachers will have discussed and shared the planning and content of the sessions with visitors in advance. A class teacher will always be present and responsible for classroom management. Visitors supporting the delivery of RSE will follow the agreed ground rules and the protocols set out above regarding any safeguarding or child protection concerns.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND LEARNING DIFFERENCES
Our pupils have different needs based on their emotional and physical development, life experiences, and learning differences, but we aim to ensure that all pupils are properly included in RSE. Teachers will plan and deliver work in a variety of ways, in order to meet the needs of individual pupils with SEN or learning differences. We focus on activities that increase a pupil's assertiveness, communication and relationship skills, their self-esteem and understanding.
EQUALITIES AND DIVERSITY
Schools, like all public institutions, have specific responsibilities in relation to equality and protected characteristics. Planning and resources are reviewed to ensure they comply with equalities legislation and the school's equal opportunities policy.
All RSE is taught without bias and in line with legal responsibilities such as those contained within theEquality Act (2010). Topics are presented using a variety of views and beliefs so that pupils are able to form their own, informed opinions but also respect others that may have different opinions. The personal beliefs and attitudes of staff delivering RSE will not influence the teaching of the subject in school.
In our school we seek to recognise and embrace the diverse nature of our community. We aim to value and celebrate religious, ethnic and cultural diversity as part of modern Britain. We will explore different cultural beliefs and values and encourage activities that challenge stereotypes and discrimination and present children with accurate information based on the law. We will use a range of teaching materials and resources that reflect the diversity of our community and encourage a sense of inclusiveness. We do not use RSE as a means of promoting any form of sexual orientation.
THE ROLE OF PARENTS/PARENTAL RIGHT OF WITHDRAWAL
We recognise that parents and carers are the primary providers of RSE for their children. Our RSE curriculum is designed to support and complement this. We aim to build a positive and supportive relationship with parents and carers through mutual understanding, trust and co-operation.
In promoting this we will:
Inform parents about the school’s RSE policy and practice;
We believe that all of the content within our school’s PSHE curriculum, including RSE, is of the utmost importance and relevance to all pupils. However, parents have the legal right to request that their child be withdrawn from some or all non-statutory sex education other than that which is part of the National Curriculum for Science.
Please note there is no parental right of withdrawal from Relationships Education or Health Education content within the school curriculum, or from any statutory sex education that forms part of the National Curriculum for Science. These are statutory requirements which the DfE mandates schools to teach; please see the statutory document if further information is required.
We will inform parents of the right to withdraw by letter in advance of non-statutory sex education lessons being taught. Parents and carers who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child from non-statutory sex education should talk with the class teacher, the PSHE leader/head teacher who will explore any concerns and discuss resources being used.
If parents still wish to withdraw their child from non-statutory sex education lessons, this request will be recorded, and suitable alternative arrangements made for pupils during relevant lessons. The issue of withdrawal will be handled as sensitively as possible. Parents should also understand that the decision to remove their child from these lessons means that they themselves will assume responsibility for talking to their children about any related sex education themes covered outside of National Curriculum Science.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
Our aim is to provide RSE that is relevant and tailored to meet the needs of our pupils, depending on their age and stage of personal development. For this reason, we regularly review the RSE curriculum to evaluate its effectiveness and will inform parents of any revisions to the school policy or curriculum as required.
Teachers will continually reflect on the effectiveness of our PSHE provision, and the PSHE Coordinator will gather staff views through regular Staff Voice feedback. Pupil Voice exercises will also be used to inform reviews and updates to planning, resources and activities.
The Curriculum Committee of the governing body monitors our RSE policy on a regular basis. This committee reports its findings and recommendations to the full governing body, as necessary, if the policy needs modification. The Curriculum Committee gives consideration to any feedback from parents about the RSE programme and makes a record of all such comments. Governors require the headteacher to keep a written record, giving details of the content and delivery of the RSE programme that we teach in our school.
LOCATION AND DISSEMINATION
Copies of this policy are held by the Headteacher/PSHE leader. Further copies are available in the staff policy folder on the learning platform; on the school website and from the school office on request from parents.
STAFF SUPPORT AND TRAINING
Prince Bishops Primary School believes in the importance of appropriate staff training to enable staff to deliver effective RSE. The PSHE leader will access courses or INSET opportunities to assist staff involved in the delivery of RSE in accordance with the School Improvement Plan.