At Abingdon we have welcomed the new mandatory status of Relationships Education and Health Education for Primary Schools and agree with the Department for Education’s aim that;
“Through these subjects, we want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe – we want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.”
The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 are made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and make Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education. We have based our school’s relationship and sex education policy on the DfE guidance document Relationship and Sex Education Guidance (ref DfE 0116/2000) and the Brook, SEF and PSHE Association Supplementary Advice document ‘Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) for the 21st Century.
The Government guidance says that by the end of primary school, it is mandatory for pupils to have been taught content on:
- Families and people who care for me
- Caring friendships
- Respectful relationships
- Online relationships
- Being safe
- Mental wellbeing
- Internet safety and harms
- Physical health and fitness
- Healthy eating
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Health and prevention
- Basic first aid
- The changing adolescent body
Aims of our Relationship Education programme
At Abingdon Primary School, Relationship Education (RSE) is delivered through the school’s personal, social, health and citizenship education curriculum, alongside the Science curriculum and promotes the principle of Relationship Education being lifelong learning. While we use RSE to inform children, we do this with regard to matters of morality and individual responsibility, and in a way that allows children to ask and explore moral questions
Its aim is to provide a stimulating and supportive learning environment in which pupils can develop their feelings of self-worth and confidence, especially in relationships to others. This will include developing the following skills: valuing themselves as unique individuals, keeping themselves and others healthy and safe, communication, decision making and assertiveness, knowing how and where to gain information and support and participating in society. The school believes that Relationship Education should be an integral part of the lifelong learning process, beginning in early childhood and continuing into adult life.
We do not use RSE as a means of promoting or discouraging any form of sexual orientation or sexual activity. It is important to note that evidence shows that comprehensive RSE programmes are shown to delay sexual activity in later life. There is also a link between school RSE programmes and reductions in Teenage Conceptions (NATSAL, 2013).
Therefore, pupils and staff are encouraged to share and respect each other’s views and be aware of differing family structures with acceptance, though in the absence of any promotion of any particular ‘norm’. An atmosphere where questions and discussion take place without stigma or embarrassment is created throughout the school, and partnerships with parents and community agencies are common place.
RSE Expectation by the end of Primary School
Families and People who Care for me
- that families are important for children growing up because they can give love, security and stability.
- the characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for children and other family members, the importance of spending time together and sharing each other’s lives.
- that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.
- •that stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types, are at the heart of happy families, and are important for children’s security as they grow up.
- • that marriage represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.
- how to recognise if family relationships are making them feel unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed.
- how important friendships are in making us feel happy and secure, and how people choose and make friends.
- the characteristics of friendships, including mutual respect, truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, trust, sharing interests and experiences and support with problems and difficulties.
- that healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded.
- that most friendships have ups and downs, and that these can often be worked through so that the friendship is repaired or even strengthened, and that resorting to violence is never right.
- how to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable, managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to seek help or advice from others, if needed.
- the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs.
- practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships.
- the conventions of courtesy and manners.
- the importance of self-respect and how this links to their own happiness.
- that in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including those in positions of authority.
- about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help.
- what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive.
- the importance of permission-seeking and giving in relationships with friends, peers and adults.
- that people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not.
- that the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-to-face relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous.
- the rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them.
- how to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met.
- how information and data is shared and used online.
- what sorts of boundaries are appropriate in friendships with peers and others (including in a digital context).
- about the concept of privacy and the implications of it for both children and adults; including that it is not always right to keep secrets if they relate to being safe.
- that each person’s body belongs to them, and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact.
- how to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not know.
- how to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe or feeling bad about any adult.
- how to ask for advice or help for themselves or others, and to keep trying until they are heard.
- how to report concerns or abuse, and the vocabulary and confidence needed to do so.
- where to get advice e.g. family, school and/or other sources
The Teaching of Relationship Education
RSE is taught through PSHE discreet weekly session. We follow the PSHE Association Scheme of Work and lessons are planned from the 3 topics – Relationships, Living in the Wider World and Health and wellbeing. The teaching of relationships education is threaded throughout these topics and supported by the FPA – Yasmine and Tom relationships education scheme.
From Early Years, pupils learn to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively whilst developing empathy and self-respect for others. Throughout the school community, children are encouraged to make choices in an absence of prejudice and develop an appreciation for the consequences of choices made. This strives to empower children with the skills to be able to avoid inappropriate pressures, both as the exploiter and exploited.
Although we follow the statements set out by the DFE, we also aim to create our bespoke Abingdon curriculum to meet the ever changing needs of our pupils.
A variety of teaching strategies are applied to enrich RSE with creativity. All sessions are based on firm, fair ground rules.
- Circle Time
- Group discussion/ Paired work
- Online resources
- FPA programme of work will be used to ensure all areas are taught effectively and in guidance with this policy.
- Outside agencies and community links will be used to support the wider curriculum of PSHE
Roles and responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the PSHE Co-ordinator to oversee and organise the monitoring and evaluation according to our school’s policy. Implementation will be monitored by the Head teacher and PSHE Co-ordinator and reported on to the Governing body.
Abingdon Primary School believe that all young people should receive Relationship Education and therefore offer provision appropriate to the needs of all our pupils, taking specialist advice where necessary. We intend our policy to be sensitive to the needs of different ethnic groups and understand that for some young people, it is not appropriate for them to be taught particular items in mixed groups. We also aim to deal sensitively with children’s issues and answer appropriate questions raised as young people need to feel that Relationship Education is relevant to them.
Partnership with parents/carers
Our school is committed to working with parents/carers, and with most of a pupil’s informal relationships education occurring within the family, the school believes that the Relationship Education programme will complement and build on this in co-operation with homes.
Parental / Carer Child withdrawal procedures
There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education at primary or secondary as the contents of these subjects – such as family, friendship, safety (including online safety) – are important for all children to be taught.
If a teacher has any concerns about the welfare of a particular child then that teacher will report and inform a Designated Officer. Any information thus obtained will be regarded as strictly confidential and will be passed to staff on a need to know basis only using CPOMs.
Parents or carers have a right to be informed of any issue which is causing their child concern. We will always handle this kind of situation with care and consideration.
The Head teacher would consider if there are any special circumstances which may temper this right. Any information thus obtained will be regarded as strict confidentiality and will be passed to the staff that need to know.
Methodology for Year 3,4,5 and 6 when dealing with Human Reproduction
Human reproduction is covered during the course of the Year 5 topic Growth and Reproduction within the science curriculum section “My Body” which looks at the main stages of the human life cycle. It is taught as part of a general enquiry into the functions of the body e.g. digestion. The children are taught, simple biological facts of the reproductive systems e.g. fertilisation of the ovary and the development of the foetus.
The school goes beyond the science curriculum within its PSHE programme of study in year 6; details of which can be found in the progression document.
Methodology for teaching about Online Safety and Digital Resilience
The school includes this in the Computing scheme of work and the Digital Resilience Strategy.
Facilities for Menstruating Girls
Sanitary products are available, the school is part of the Red Box program.
When changing for P.E. girls will go into a single occupancy toilet cubical if they need to during their period.
Answering difficult questions
Staff are aware that views around RSE related issues are varied. However, while personal views are respected, all RSE issues are taught without bias.
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 a different opinion.
Both formal and informal RSE arising from pupils’ questions are answered according to the age and maturity of the pupil(s) concerned. Questions do not have to be answered directly, and can be addressed individually later. The school believes that individual teachers must use their skill and discretion in this area and refer to the PHSE Co-ordinator if they are concerned.
Our school believes that RSE should meet the needs of all pupils regardless of their developing sexuality and be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation, answer appropriate questions and offer support.
Dissemination and Implementation
The policy is given to all members of the school community. Copies of the document will be available to all parents or carers from the school office.
Our school believes in the importance of staff training to enable them to deliver effective RSE. The PHSE Co-ordinator in school should access courses and inset opportunities to assist staff and also arrange in house training for all.
Implementation of Policy
Implementation of the policy will take place after consultation with the Governors.