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PHSE and RSE

The Department of Education has made Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) statutory to teach in all primary schools from September 2020. It will be taught within PSHE lessons. The guidance ensures that children have the skills and knowledge to navigate the modern world safely, which has changed so much since we were children. Parents still retain the parental right of withdrawal from sex education, with new rights for children to ‘opt-in’ as they approach age 16.

The new guidance has ensured schools will provide curriculum time where all pupils can benefit from an education that keeps them safe, healthy and prepared for the realities of modern life. It covers broad areas of particular relevance and concern to young people today, ensuring that every child is guaranteed a PSHE education that covers mental health and wellbeing, physical health (including healthy lifestyles and first aid) and learning about safe, healthy relationships, including understanding consent and negotiating life online.

Relationships Education will focus on:

• Families and people who care for me

• Caring friendships

• Respectful relationships

• Online relationships

• Being safe

PHSE

PSHE aspires to teach children about the emotional, social, moral and physical aspects of growing up. Children will learn how to be safe and healthy, and how to negotiate some of the personal and social challenges that they will face growing up as adults.

In PSHE lessons your child will have class discussions, watch short films, read books and complete activities to support their learning. For each year group, there are six themed units which provide a PSHE and wellbeing curriculum.

There are six half-termly themed units which are repeated in every school year to develop and build on children’s learning in a spiral approach.

Sex Education

The new statutory requirements do not extend to sex education at KS1 and 2 beyond the biological/reproductive aspects schools are already required to cover in science. However, the Department for Education ‘continues to recommend that all primary schools should have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils’ Where schools provide sex education at key stages 1 and 2, parents will have the right to withdraw their child from sex education but not from statutory Relationships Education or Health Education

Puberty is already statutory under Health Education and National Curriculum Science (no right to withdraw). Birth and reproduction is also included in Science (again no right to withdraw) therefore this leaves conception. ‘How a baby is conceived' has been interpreted to refer to what happens during sexual intercourse before an egg and sperm meet (reproduction). We therefore include sexual intercourse in Year 6 to help children understand how babies are conceived, particularly before they transition to secondary school

Menstruation

Menstruation and puberty are technically not Sex Education but Health Education, and are therefore statutory. The statutory guidance states puberty should be addressed before onset so, as far as possible, pupils are prepared in advance for changes they will experience. The NHS states that girls as young as 8 years old start menstruating. Best practice states that menstruation education should be delivered to both boys and girls, as learning about menstruation is a concept of reproduction, as covered by the national curriculum science and fosters good relationships by breaking down the stigma of going through these changes leading to less bullying.

LGBT

The statutory guidance states that schools must teach about families of many forms and this includes LGBT parents and families. Therefore parents cannot withdraw their child from learning about LGBT families and identities.

Mental Health

The Health Education section of the new DfE statutory requirements have a whole section on mental wellbeing. This also comes into many of the Relationships Education outcomes – particularly the categories of Respectful Relationships (including bullying behaviours), Online Relationships and Being Safe.

Creating a safe environment

When teaching any lesson that deals with potentially sensitive subjects, it’s essential to begin by creating a safe, secure learning environment. This will help children feel confident to share their ideas, values and attitudes without fear of negative feedback from their peers. A safe learning environment with clear boundaries also helps teachers to manage discussions on sensitive issues with greater confidence.

To do this we will:

Set class ground rules for PSHE sessions linking to school values.

Depersonalise discussions by using distancing techniques – stories, role-play, scenarios of real situations but with fictional characters and storylines etc.

Have an ‘ask-it-basket’ in class so children can ask questions based on PSHE lessons anonymously

Small group discussions

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