Relationships and Sex Education Policy 2023/2024
Relationships and Sex Education Policy
- Date created - September 2023
- Date approved - October 2023
- Next review date - September 2024
- Policy owner - Emma Wingfield and Louise Tickle
- Statutory Requirements
- Policy Development
- Curriculum and links to other policies
- Delivery of RSE
- Roles and responsibilities
- Parents right to withdrawn
The aims of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at our school are to:
- Enable pupils to learn about what makes healthy relationships, including with family, friends and on-line, how to recognise unhealthy behaviour in relationships and how to seek help if they feel unsafe.
- Support pupils to develop self-respect, confidence and empathy
- Provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place
- Prepare pupils for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene
- Teach pupils the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies
Teaching will be age appropriate and will respect the diversity of families and faith in our community. RSE is not about the promotion of sexual activity.
As a secondary academy school we must provide RSE to all pupils as per section 34 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and deliver based on; Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, Headteachers, senior leadership teams, teachers, 2019, DfE (last updated September 2021).
In teaching RSE, we are 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.
This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education issued under Section 80A of the Education Act 2002 and section 403 of the Education Act 1996 – further details are in Annex A. Schools must have regard to the guidance, and where they depart from those parts of the guidance which state that they should (or should not) do something they will need to have good reasons for doing so.
At Co-op Academy Leeds we teach RSE as set out in this policy.
This policy has been developed in consultation with staff, pupils and parents in the academic year 2021/2022. The consultation and policy development process involved the following steps:
Review – The Social, Culture and Ethos leader supported by the Vice Headteacher Standards pulled together all relevant information including relevant national and local guidance. This was then shared with the senior leadership team including the designated safeguarding lead.
Staff consultation – all school staff were given the opportunity to look at the draft policy and make recommendations
Parent/stakeholder consultation – parents and any interested parties were sent the draft policy and invited to provide feedback which was then taken into consideration
Pupil consultation – we investigated what exactly pupils want from their RSE and combined this with what we know are the specific priorities related to safeguarding at Coop Academy Leeds
Ratification – once amendments were made, the policy was shared with governors and ratified
RSE is about the emotional, social and cultural development of pupils, and involves learning about relationships, sexual health, sexuality, healthy lifestyles, diversity and personal identity.
RSE involves a combination of sharing information and exploring
issues and values. RSE is not about the promotion of sexual activity.
Curriculum and links to other policies
Our curriculum is informed by the PSHE Association guidelines and resources, but we may need to adapt it as and when necessary.
We have developed the curriculum in consultation with parents, pupils and staff, taking into account the age, needs and feelings of pupils. If pupils ask questions outside the scope of this policy, teachers will respond in an appropriate manner so they are fully informed and don’t seek answers online.
The science curriculum includes teaching about reproduction in humans including the male and female reproductive systems, menstrual cycle, gametes, fertilisation, gestation, birth and HIV/AIDS.
Religious education looks at family, values and morals, and the celebration of marriage in different traditions.
Health education requires pupils to learn about the main changes which take place in adolescence, and implications for emotional and physical health.
The curriculum for ICT covers e-safety. This includes how to use technology responsibly, respectfully and securely, how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support.
There continues to be no right of withdrawal from any part of the school curriculum except for RE and sex education.
The content of relationships education is supported by our anti-bullying policy, equality and diversity policy, and safeguarding policy.
The Academy also uses The Leeds Health Schools and Wellbeing Service Curriculum and its local offer https://www.schoolwellbeing.co.uk/pages/who-we-are
Delivery of RSE
RSE will be inclusive for all pupils, sensitive to all family and faith backgrounds and pupils’ own identities. It will be respectful of all protected characteristics under the equality Act 2010. Protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. The school environment reflects, values and celebrates the diversity of our community.
RSE is taught within the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum. Biological aspects of RSE are taught within the science curriculum, and other aspects are included in religious education (RW).
Pupils also receive age-appropriate stand-alone sessions from qualified external providers. Examples of these may include drugs education, knife crime, sex education and first aid.
The Department for Education has set out guidance on what children should learn by the end of secondary school, under a series of themes which are set out below. Some themes will recur throughout key stages 3 and 4, others will be delivered in the most appropriate year only. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from lessons on sexual intimacy, sexualised behaviour and sexual health, as detailed in section 8.
- 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 ensure 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, 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).
Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will have the RSE/HE curriculum delivered to them by an experienced PSHE teacher who also has a good understanding of the SEND/cognitive needs of the students. This will be done in communication with the SENDCO who will be able to direct and suggest further consideration. Further considerations will be required about an individual's cognitive ability and particular care taken for those on the autistic spectrum.
Further intervention may be required for individuals who will struggle to understand the main concepts of the core curriculum. These discussions may be required with parents / carers and external partners on an individual basis and this will be overseen by the SENDCO.
Elements of the curriculum may be consolidated further in skills lessons deliver via the Student Support Centre/Student Support Centre Plus/Nurture classe
Roles and responsibilities
The governing board
The governing board will approve the RSE policy, and hold the Headteacher to account for its implementation.
The Headteacher is responsible for ensuring that RSE is taught consistently across the school, and for managing requests to withdraw pupils from sex education [non-statutory/non-science] components of RSE (see section 8). The head teacher is also responsible for ensuring that any young person who was previously withdrawn from sex education but wishes to receive it during the 3 terms before they turn 16 is provided with sex education.
Staff are responsible for:
- Delivering RSE in a sensitive way
- Modelling positive attitudes to RSE
- Monitoring progress
- Responding to the needs of individual pupils
- Responding appropriately to pupils whose parents wish them to be withdrawn from the [non-statutory/non-science] components of RSE.
Staff do not have the right to opt out of teaching RSE. Staff who have concerns about teaching RSE are encouraged to discuss this with the Headteacher .
The PSHE Programme leader is responsible for the delivery and teaching of RSE
Pupils are expected to engage fully in RSE and, when discussing issues related to RSE, treat others with respect and sensitivity, as they would be expected to in all lessons in the academy.
Parents right to withdraw
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the [non-statutory/non-science] components of sex education within RSE up to and until 3 terms before the child turns 16. After this point, if the child wishes to receive sex education rather than being withdrawn, the school will arrange this.
Requests for withdrawal should be put in writing and addressed to the Headteacher. A copy of withdrawal requests will be placed in the pupil’s educational record. The PSHE Programme leader will discuss the request with parents and with the support of the headteacher/senior leadership team take appropriate action. Alternative work will be given to pupils who are withdrawn from sex education.
Staff are trained on the delivery of RSE as part of their induction and it is included in our continuing professional development calendar. Visitors from outside the school, such as school nurses or sexual health professionals, will also be invited to provide support and training to staff teaching RSE.
The delivery of RSE is monitored by Louise Tickle, PSHE Programme Leader, with the support of the leadership team through the academy’s quality assurance programme.
Pupils’ development in RSE is monitored by class teachers as part of our internal assessment systems.
This policy will be reviewed by the PSHE Programme Leader, supported by the Assistant Headteacher annually. At every review, the policy will be approved by the governing board.