“Effective RSE does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, build their confidence and self-esteem and understand reasons for delaying sexual activity. Effective RSE also supports people throughout life to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships at the appropriate time.”
DfE Statutory Guidance for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced changes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). These changes were due to come into effect from September 2020; this date has been extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but all schools will now be required to comply with the updated requirements. This means that we have reviewed our RSE curriculum and policy so we can be sure our RSE provision is appropriate for all of our pupils based on their:
You will be aware that, as a part of your child’s education at Pine Green Academy, we aim to promote personal wellbeing and development through a comprehensive programme of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education that gives our students the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive and fulfilled lives, both now and in the future. This is taught in weekly timetabled lessons to each class throughout the school.
What does the new guidance mean?
The new RSE guidance focuses on healthy relationships and keeping children safe in the modern world. It also covers a wide range of topics relating to physical and mental health, wellbeing, safeguarding and healthy relationships. Learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up will give young people the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships and will help them take responsibility for their own well-being.
How will this be delivered?
RSE is delivered as part of the wider PSHE curriculum; each class has one 45-minute lesson on their timetable each week. In Primary, this will be delivered by the class teacher; in Secondary, this will be delivered by the PSHE Coordinator. In both phases, sometimes we ask external specialists to provide sessions to supplement reaching, for example the School Nurse and PCSOs. All teaching in PSHE will continue to take place in a safe learning environment and be underpinned by our school ethos and values, as well as being in line with Safeguarding guidelines and procedures. A variety of opportunities will be provided for pupils to learn and ask questions to further their understanding and to find out more about what affects them personally in their ever-changing social world.
Does my child have to do these lessons?
The DfE states that parents/carers have the right to withdraw their child from the specific Sex Education lessons within the RSE curriculum by putting their wishes in writing to the Head of School following a discussion with staff. However, they are clear that you may not withdraw your child from the wider Relationships Education curriculum, any aspect of Health Education, or from the elements of the Science curriculum that cover puberty, conception and reproduction. There is also an expectation that parents/carers who do withdraw their child provide this at home instead, and schools are advised to provide materials for you to do this if required. You can opt to withdraw your child up to 3 terms before they reach the age of 16; after this, attendance in these lessons is their own choice.
Whilst we will always respect parental/carer wishes, we do strongly recommend that pupils are allowed to attend all lessons, as the likelihood is that they will hear about the content from their peers outside of the classroom without a teacher present to correct any misinformation.
What if I have questions?
In the first instance, to introduce parents and carers to the new RSE curriculum, we invite you to review the draft policy and the statutory content of the relationships and sex education programme which is contained within it. The draft policy also contains important information for parents/carers who may wish to withdraw their children from sex education classes, as well as detailing the ethos and values that underpin the curriculum. There is also an optional survey for you to complete to give your views which will be available to you until 4th June 2021.
In addition, as a school community, we are committed to working with parents, so please do not hesitate to contact PSHE Co-ordinator, Ms R Williams, or Head of School, Mrs S Ryan if you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of our RSE provision.