Relationship _ Sex Education Policy
Relationship and Sex Education (RSE)
- 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.
- 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
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
- Develop all students as individuals, each valued in his or her own right and promoting for each pupil a positive self-image.
- Helping students to care about other people, to be capable of forming constructive relationships and to accept responsibility for the welfare of others.
- Helping students to understand that there are morally, ethically and legally acceptable forms of behaviour.
- To deliver factual information relating to safer sex including HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and contraception for life.
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:
- 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
Summary of content
Where young people can go for support and advice with all manner of RSE issues
Where young people can go for support and advice with all manner of RSE issues
Where young people can go for support and advice with all manner of RSE issues
Where young people can go for support and advice with all manner of RSE issues
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.
- 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
- 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