Skip to content ↓

Relationship _ Sex Education Policy

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE)


Policy details

  • Issue Number        4
  • Date Created        2017
  • Date Reviewed        8/11/2023
  • Date Approved        23/11/2023
  • Next review date        23/11/2024
  • Policy Owner                Rebecca Shaw


Relationship and  sex education is lifelong learning about physical,  moral and  emotional development. It is about the  understanding of the  importance of loving  and  caring  relationships. It is about the  teaching of sex,  sexuality  and  sexual  health, sexual  exploitation, advice  and  indicators. Research demonstrates that good, comprehensive sex and  relationship education does not make  young  people more  likely to become sexually   active   at  a  younger age.  Legal  age   explicitly  stated  throughout lessons.  Co-op  Academy Failsworth  recognises the  importance of RSE education and  will endeavour to have  the  highest quality of this  in the  academy as  part  of our commitment to a student’s broad and  balanced curriculum,  preparing them  for life in the 21st century.

Key points

  • Co-op  Academy Failsworth  recognises  its  responsibility  to  provide  Relationship  and  Sex  Education (RSE) for its students.
  • RSE will be  delivered  through Citizenship,  Science  RS and  Computing.  It  is also  delivered  in other subjects as a sub-topic of what  is being studied, e.g.  in English and  Drama.  This is mapped across  the academy and  is reviewed annually in line with curriculum reviews (see appendix A).
  • The academy will support young  men  and  women who become parents themselves. The academy will work closely with LA agencies to ensure this support.
  • The  academy  follows  Relationships  Education,  Relationships  and   Sex  Education  (RSE)  and  Health Education mandatory from 2020 policy.
  • As in the  Home  Office,  Ministerial  Group on the  Family  consultation document Supporting Families – the   academy  acknowledges  that   there  are   strong  and   mutually   supportive  relationships  outside marriage.  The  academy will take  steps to  ensure that  there is no  stigmatisation  of  students whose home arrangements differ from the traditional idea  of husband and  wife in a married relationship.
  • Any safeguarding  issues  revealed  during  discussion  or  meetings  will be  managed via CP procedures (see Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy).
  • With the  exception  of the  statutory Science curriculum  time,  parents have  the  right  to withdraw  their child from RSE. Parents must  indicate on the  data collections sheet on entry  to the  academy whether they  wish to withdraw  their  child from RSE education. Communication with parents is then  conducted by the Head  of Citizenship and  PSHE in conjunction with the Deputy Headteacher, Curriculum.
  • All students, regardless of gender, ability, ethnicity,  sexuality,  are entitled to RSE and  will participate in lessons.
  • RSE in the academy will be monitored and  evaluated by the Deputy Headteacher – Curriculum.
  • The Policy will be reviewed annually.
  • Topical and  local issues  are addressed such as grooming, sexting and  ‘grabbing’ to respond to current issues  affecting young  people in the community. Such issues  are discussed between the pastoral team and  teachers to ensure that  relevant issues  in our community are being targeted.
  • The academy is aware  of the law in relation to forced marriage and  female  genital mutilation; this is also addressed in lessons through the curriculum.

Legislation (Statutory Regulations and  Guidelines)

This  policy  is  in  line  with  current  regulations from  the  Department of  Education (DfE)  on  Relationships Education,  Relationships  and   Sex  Education  (RSE)  and   Health   Education  (July    2019)  as  well  as  other guidance and  regulations including the following:

Education Act 2002: Under  the Education Act 2002,  all schools must provide a balanced broadly-based curriculum which: Promotes the spiritual,  moral, cultural, mental and  physical development of students at the school  and  of society;  prepares students at the academy for opportunities, responsibilities and  experiences

of later life.

2006 Education and  Inspections Act: The 2006 Education and  Inspections Act placed a duty on Governing

Bodies  to promote the wellbeing of students at the school.  As a secondary academy, we must provide RSE to all pupils  under section 34 of the Children  and  Social Work Act 2017.

In teaching RSE, we’re required by our funding agreements to have regard to guidance issued by the secretary of state, as outlined in section 403 of the Education Act 1996.

We also have regard to legal duties set out in:

  • Sections 406 and  407 of the Education Act 1996
  • Part 6, chapter 1 of the Equality Act 2010
  • The Public Sector  Equality Duty (as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010). This duty requires public  bodies to have due  regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster  good relations between different people when carrying out their activities


RSE is part  of the  broad and  balanced education which the academy provides. It is key to a students’ future well-being  and   readiness  for  their  adult  life.  The  academy takes  seriously  its  responsibility to  educate students in RSE and  has  dedicated lessons in citizenship at  both key stages which caters for explicit  RSE education

Policy Aims

The aim of RSE is to provide children  with age  appropriate information, explore attitudes and  values and develop skills in order to empower them  to make  positive decisions about their  health-related behaviour. This will take place  with consideration of the qualities of relationships within families.

This policy has the following aims:

  • To provide the knowledge and  information to which all students are entitled;
  • To raise students’ self-esteem and  confidence, especially in their relationships with others;
  • To help  students develop skills (language, decision making,  choice, assertiveness) and  make  the most of their abilities;
  • To develop students’ skills for a healthier safer lifestyle;
  • To develop students’ communication skills and  assertiveness skills to cope with the influences of their peers and  the media;
  • To provide a description of how RSE is delivered, monitored and  evaluated in the academy;
  • To help  students learn to respect and  care for their bodies;
  • To prepare students for puberty and  adulthood;
  • To help  students learn how to gain access to information and  support.

In summary  the policy aims to

  1. Develop all students as individuals,  each  valued  in his or her own right and  promoting for each pupil a positive self-image.
  2. Helping students to care about other people, to be capable of forming  constructive relationships and  to accept responsibility for the welfare of others.
  3. Helping students to understand that  there are morally, ethically and  legally acceptable forms of behaviour.
  4. To deliver  factual information relating to safer sex including HIV and  AIDS and  other sexually transmitted infections, and  contraception for life.

Values Framework

As part  of Relationship and  sex education, students should be  taught about the nature and  importance of marriage for family life and  bringing up  children. But the Government recognises – as in the Home  Office, Ministerial  Group on  the  Family consultation  document Supporting  Families  - that  there are  strong  and mutually supportive relationships outside marriage. Students  should learn the significance of marriage and  stable  healthy  relationships  as  key building  blocks  of community and  society.  Care  needs to be taken to ensure that  there is no stigmatisation of children  based on their home circumstances.

All those who teach aspects of RSE within the academy, including visitors, are expected to be guided by the following values framework  which represents the values held  in common by the whole academy community.

The teaching of RSE will encourage students to:

  • Value and  respect themselves
  • Value and  respect others for who they are, not for what they have or what they can do
  • Value healthy  sexual relationships which are based on mutual  respect, care and  goodwill
  • Value and  respect difference in people’s religion,  culture,  sexual orientation, physical and  mental ability and  social background
  • Value and  respect their own and  others’ rights to make  choices in sexual relationships after having accepted responsibility for considering the consequences of those choices
  • Value stable and  loving relationships for the nurturing of children  and  as the basis of a society  in which people care for one  another
  • Know their rights and  responsibilities and  the law relating to sexual offences

The personal beliefs  and  attitudes of teachers will not influence the teaching of relationship and  sex education in this academy.

Content Coverage for RSE within the Academy

At Co-op Academy Failsworth  Relationship and  sex education is taught in each  year group from year 7.  The focus within each  year group is around healthy  relationships and  how to make  healthy  and  safe life choices.  Students are encouraged to consider a wide range of relationships that  impact on their daily lives.

RSE focuses on giving young  people the information they need to help  them  develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds including:

  • Families
  • Respectful relationships, including friendships
  • Online  and  media
  • Being safe
  • Intimate and  sexual relationships, including sexual health

These  areas  of learning are taught within the context of family life, taking  care to make  sure that  there is no stigmatisation of children  based on their home circumstances (families can include  single  parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents and  foster  parents/carers, amongst other structures), along  with reflecting sensitively  that  some children  may have a different structure of support around them  (for example, looked-after children  or young  carers).

We will also be mindful of the law and  legal requirements, taking  care not to condone or encourage illegal political activity, such as violent action  against people, criminal damage to property, hate  crime, terrorism or the illegal use of drugs.

As students’ progress through school  the content develops in order to build upon prior knowledge. However, the core  concept of staying  safe within relationships remains consistent throughout.

Curriculum maps  have been created using the Relationships Education, Relationships and  Sex Education (RSE) and  Health  Education Statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior  leadership teams, teachers 2019 as a framework.  Content has been extensively mapped across  the academy to ensure all statutory material is covered in depth. The primary responsibility for the delivery of RSE falls within the citizenship department.  However, in order to gain a holistic view of students RSE experience in the academy RSE has been mapped in all contributing subjects.

Further  to this, in order to ensure the needs of the local community are being met, pastoral leaders within school  have been consulted on the content of relationship and  sex education lessons.  If particular issues  of concern are raised  by pastoral leaders’ lessons are adapted to incorporate the new and  emerging needs of the community.

The organisation of Relationship and  Sex Education

A range of teaching methods which involve children’s full participation are used to teach sex and relationship education. These  include  use of small group work, media, discussion, case  studies, drama and role-play. Ground rules and  distancing techniques are used to establish a safe environment to facilitate discussions and  students are encouraged to reflect  on their learning. Sex and  relationship education is delivered in mixed  gender groups. The programme content has been agreed in consultation with governors, parents and  teaching staff.

Citizenship lessons – Summary  of content

Year Group

Summary  of content

Year 7

  • Identity and  diversity
  • Friendships and  bullying
  • Social media and  staying  safe online
  • Substance abuse and  addiction
  • Puberty and  dealing with emotions
  • Families and  marriage
  • LGBTQI+ bullying

Where  young  people can go for support and  advice  with all manner of RSE issues

Year 8

  • Body image and  the impact of the media on body  image
  • Mental  wellbeing
  • Introduction to consent and  making  decisions on relationships
  • Introduction to safe sex and  contraception
  • Sexting
  • Grooming
  • LGBT stereotyping

Where  young  people can go for support and  advice  with all manner of RSE issues

Year 9

  • Identity and  diversity
  • Stereotyping
  • Consent
  • Sexual exploitation, abusive relationships and  FGM
  • Contraception and  Brook services
  • Safe sex
  • Pregnancy and  parenting
  • LGBTQI+ vocabulary and  the development of rights

Where  young  people can go for support and  advice  with all manner of RSE issues

Year 10

  • Substance abuse and  impact of addictions
  • Healthy  relationships and  teen and  teen violence
  • Impact on porn
  • Sexual harassment
  • Pregnancy, miscarriage and  abortion
  • Grooming, gangs and  county  lines
  • LGBTQI+ and  challenging discrimination

Where  young  people can go for support and  advice  with all manner of RSE issues

Year 11

  • Year 11 will follow the exam  specification
  • Students who have chosen PE as an option will still receive core  RSE/PSHE.

Teachers of RSE

The citizenship department is made up of a team of specialist teachers. All RSE lesson  plans  and  resources have been developed by the citizenship team to ensure the highest possible standard of resources.

If a teacher outside of the citizenship team has to deliver  an element of RSE they are paired by with a member of the citizenship department to liaise with and  discuss  lesson  content. All teacher set rules for discussing relationships with classes  and  also use an anonymous question system  during  lesson  plenaries. This enables none specialist staff to seek  advice  and  support from the specialist team with any questions being asked by students, if necessary.

Ensuring  RSE is accessible to all students

In order to ensure RSE lessons are accessible to all student’s class teachers will work to provide support for all individuals  who may require additional support, including those with SEND. Teaching and  resources will be differentiated as appropriate to address the needs of these children  in order for them  to have full access to the content of relationship and  sex education.

RSE units are never  taught in term  1 of the academic year, this ensures class teachers understand the needs of their students and  plan appropriately to ensure lessons are accessible to all.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and  Transgender (LGBT)

RSE lessons from year 7 have been designed to be inclusive of all types  of relationships that  exist.  During RSE lessons, teachers refer to and  discuss  all types  of relationships, at no point  do teachers refer to relationships as being between males  and  females only.  All images, lesson  resources and  examples used incorporate all the different forms that  relationships may take.   As with all RSE lesson  content, we consider previous learning and  develop upon prior knowledge each  year.

LGBT specific  lessons have been included in citizenship for years 7-10, these often  will fall around February in order to incorporate wider school  activities  around LGBT history month.  These  lessons are designed to encourage respect and  equality for all citizens.   These  lessons utilise resources from the Proud  trust and signpost the proud trust to students who may benefit from additional advice  with matters concerning sexuality or gender identity.

PSHE delivery  of Sex Education

Year 7-11 will receive PSHE during  Citizenship lessons and  various curriculum subjects will also deliver aspects of PSHE e.g.  Assembly  themes; Reproduction – Science; Relationships – Drama;  a full mapping of coverage and  delivery across  all KeyStages and  subjects is undertaken annually.  

Visitors and  use of external organisations and  Materials

A visitor can enrich,  but not replace, the RSE curriculum.  Care is taken  to ensure that  the visitor’s contribution fits with our planned programme of work and  policy,  and  that  the content is age  appropriate and  accessible for the  students. It is particularly  useful  when  visitors  have  expertise and/or provide a service  to students. Visitors to the academy, health professionals and  members of voluntary  organisations, may be invited  to plan and  contribute to RSE lessons. They will be  given  a copy  of this policy and  will be  expected to work within the  values  framework  described within.  The  Citizenship team will ensure that  the  visitors’ contributions to lessons  are  in line with the  learning outcomes of the  academy’s RSE programme. A teacher will be  present during  the lesson.

We will make  sure that an agency and  any materials used are appropriate and  in line with our legal duties around political impartiality.

The school  remains responsible for what is said to pupils.  This includes making  sure that any speakers, tools and  resources used don’t undermine the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and  mutual respect and  tolerance of those with different faiths and  beliefs.

We will:

  • Make appropriate checks  and  engage with external agencies to make  sure that their approach to teaching about RSE is balanced, and  it and  the resources they intend to use:
  • Are age-appropriate
  • Are in line with pupils’ developmental stage
  • Comply  with: This policy

The   Teachers’  Standards  

The   Equality  Act 2010

The   Human   Rights  Act 1998  

The   Education  Act  1996

  • Only work with external agencies where we have full confidence in the agency, its approach and  the resources it use
  • Make sure that any speakers and  resources meet the intended outcome of the relevant part of the Curriculum
  • Review any case  study materials and  look for feedback from other people the agency has worked with
  • Be clear on:

○    What they’re going to say

○   Their position on the issues  to be discussed

  • Ask to see  in advance any materials that the agency may use Know the named individuals  who will be there, and  follow our usual safeguarding procedures for these people
  • Conduct a basic online  search and  address anything that may be of concern to us, or to parents and carers
  • Check  the agency’s protocol for taking pictures or using any personal data they might get from a session
  • Remind  teachers that they can say “no”  or, in extreme cases, stop a session
  • Make sure that the teacher is in the room  during any sessions with external speakers

We won’t, under any circumstances

  • Work with external agencies that take or promote extreme political positions
  • Use materials produced by such agencies, even if the material itself is not extreme


OfSTED guidance recommends that  it is important for children  to learn the language associated with body parts  so that  children  are able  to talk to health professionals. Therefore, teachers will use the anatomically correct language for body  parts,  while acknowledging common terms  used by some people.

Dealing  with difficult questions

Ground rules are essential to provide an agreed structure to answering sensitive or difficult questions. This framework  facilitates  the use of an anonymous question box as a distancing technique.

Teachers will endeavour to answer  questions as honestly as possible but if faced  with a question they do not feel comfortable answering within the classroom, provision  would be made to meet the individual  child’s needs. This may involve referring  the child back to their parent/carer, academy health care advisor  or young person’s health drop-in service  for an answer  or seeking advice  from the Citizenship team. This may also

lead  to CPOMs referrals  and  discussions with the pastoral team.

Monitoring and  evaluation of RSE

The  Citizenship TLR team collects  evidence for the  monitoring and  evaluation of the  RSE programme by means of lesson  observations, monitoring lesson  plans  and  gathering feedback from teachers and  students. Feedback is obtained from  group discussions with teachers and  students and  feedback forms.  Any staff development needs will also  be  identified. RSE issues  will be  included in the  new  staff induction program. To  ensure  full  coverage  of  the   government  requirements  in  terms   of  the   RSE criteria,   the   Head   of Citizenship has completed a whole school  audit  (see appendix A)

Parental Rights and  the Curriculum

Parents do not have the right to withdraw  their child from the RSE element of the National Science Curriculum.  This is the biological aspect of human growth and  reproduction. Information on sex and relationships, skills development and  values clarification  are taught within PSHE. Parents do have the right to withdraw  their child from RSE provided within PSHE. If a parent wishes to withdraw  their child from aspects

of the RSE programme then  they need to follow the academy procedures- withdrawing from RSE via the data collection obtained on entry to the academy. Any parents who request to withdraw  their child will be invited into school  to discuss  their relevant concerns regarding the programme with the relevant teaching staff in the school  and  to view materials. The new legislation brought in through the Children  and  Social Work Act 2017 brought important changes in relation to parental rights to withdraw  children  from school  RSE and  states at secondary school  level parents will be able  to withdraw  their child from sex education (other than  the sex education which sits in the National Curriculum as part  of science in maintained schools). However, a child

will also have a right to opt  into sex education from their 15th birthday (specifically three academic terms before they turn 16).

Equality of Opportunity

Classroom  practice  and  pedagogy  will consider  students age, ability,  readiness  and  cultural  background and   students with  SEND  and   will be   adjusted  to  enable all students to  access the  learning. It is our intention that  all children   have  the  opportunity to  experience a  programme of  RSE at  a  level  which  is appropriate for their age  and  physical development, with differentiated provision  if required.

We will use PSHE and  RSE education as a way to address diversity issues  and  to ensure equality for all by addressing contextual issues  identified through our pastoral management system  and  wellbeing surveys. PSHE and  RSE delivery is designed to comply  with the Equality Act 2010.  Under  the provisions of the Equality Act, schools must not unlawfully discriminate against students because of their age, sex, race, disability,  religion  or belief,  gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership, or sexual orientation (collectively known as the protected characteristics). Schools  must also make  reasonable

adjustments to alleviate  disadvantage and  be mindful of the SEND Code of Practice  when planning for these subjects. This policy allows us to make  use of the provisions within the Equality Act to allow the academy to take positive action,  where  it can be shown  that  it is proportionate, to deal  with particular disadvantages affecting one  group because of these protected characteristics.

Safeguarding / Confidentiality

Teachers need to be  aware  that  effective  sex and  relationship education, which brings  an understanding of what  is and  is not  acceptable in a relationship, may lead  to disclosure of a child protection issue.  Under  the common law  young   people  are  entitled  to  the  same  duty  of confidence as  adults.  Personal  information about them should  not  be  shared without  their  permission  except for the  purposes of child  protection.

There   may  be   rare  occasions  when   a  child  under the   age   of  thirteen  who  is  sexually  active   directly approaches a teacher. This should be viewed  as a child protection issue and  procedures should be followed as outlined in the Safeguarding sexually active young  people guidance.

The  staff  member will inform  the  Headteacher / Designated  Child  Protection  person in line  with the  LA

procedures for child protection. A member of staff cannot promise confidentiality if concerns exist.

Key Stage 3 and  4 only

Under  16s’ entitlement to confidential health advice  and  treatment.

The Academy Health  Care Administrator and  other health professionals follow guidelines which allow them to give advice  and  treatment to young  people under 16 years old without  the knowledge or consent of the parents/carers if that  is in the  young   person’s best interests. They  will, however, encourage  the  young person to talk to their  parents/carers. Only in cases  where  there is abuse or serious  risk of harm would the health   professional   follow  the   county   child   protection  procedure  and   breach  the   young   person’s confidentiality. The young  person would be kept  fully informed at all stages of the procedure.

When  the  Academy Health  Care  Administrator sees  students on a one-to-one basis  she  will follow these professional guidelines. In PSHE lessons, however, she must follow the same  guidelines as teachers.

RSE lessons will inform students of their entitlement to seek  confidential help,  including contraceptive and sexual  health  advice  and  treatment, and  they  will be  taught about how they  can  access local services  for this both inside  and  outside the academy. Knowledge of sources of local help  and  support should prevent the need for students to seek  help  from a teacher for their personal and  health needs.


There  may be occasions when a teacher learns  that  a student under 16 is having  or contemplating having sexual intercourse. In this case  the teacher should:

  • Make sure the student is aware  of the need to seek  contraceptive and  sexual health advice  and  knows how to get  this.
  • Encourage the student to talk to a parent/carer.
  • Decide  whether there are  child protection issues:  underage sex or a suspected pregnancy are  not,  in themselves, child protection issues  unless  the  pupil  is under thirteen years  of age, there is coercion or abuse.  A  teacher  who   is  concerned  that   there may  be   coercion  or  abuse can  discuss   the   case anonymously  with the  Child  Protection  Officer.  The  CPO  can  advise  whether they  need to know the name of the  student and  whether the  child  protection procedure needs to be  followed. The student will be  kept  fully informed at  all stages. Please refer  to  the  Safeguarding and  sexually  active  young people guidance.

A student with a learning  disability  or  mental  disorder  may  be  more  vulnerable to exploitation and  less able  to protect themselves and  others. In these cases  the teacher can seek  advice  from the CPO as above. The academy governors and  senior  management team will support the staff member in exercising his/her professional judgement about what is in the young  person’s best interests.

Support for pregnant teenagers and  young  fathers

Any pupil  who is continuing with a pregnancy will be given time with the Pastoral Leader / Senior Pastoral Manager to ensure she knows how she may continue her education within this academy and  if appropriate how she  may continue in post-16 education. This discussion will include  advice  on benefits and  child care as  well as  support from  the  County  Specialist  Support Service.  The Academy Health  Care  Administrator will help  her to access antenatal and  postnatal care.

The  academy will also  be  sensitive  to  the  needs of young  fathers  ensuring  support around behaviour of peers, and  information on sources of advice  on legal and  other issues,  for example Citizens’ Advice Bureau and  Connexions.

Policy development, dissemination and  review process

This policy was drafted by the Deputy Headteacher - Curriculum with the Citizenship team.

The policy is made available to teaching and  non-teaching staff, community partners and  visitors to RSE. Parents/carers are invited  to view the policy via the website.

The policy will be reviewed every two years by the Deputy Headteacher - Curriculum in consultation. It will be set before Governors by the Headteacher for their continued acceptance