Relationships Education is the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. In our lessons at Leverton, we focus on all pupils understanding how to have positive, healthy relationships and friendships, being safe online, understanding different family relationships, developing positive virtues (eg honesty, kindness, perseverance and respect), learning about mental and emotional well-being, and staying healthy and well. Teaching about well-being is central; children’s happiness must be a priority. This is complemented by our values of honesty, kindness, perseverance, responsibility and trust.
Acceptable behaviour and the right of everyone to equal treatment will help ensure that pupils treat each other well and go on to be respectful and kind adults. And parents have the most significant influence in enabling their children to grow and mature and to form healthy relationships.
Therefore, we are consulting with our wider community to ensure we provide the best support in school to complement this.
During this academic year, we wish to consult with our school community because the way that everyone in the country has to teach this part of the curriculum has now changed. The policy is now known as RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) and Health Education because the secondary schools have to include Sex Education in their teaching. Relationships Education is compulsory at Primary level in maintained schools in England. All of this must be taught sensitively and inclusively with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents while always with the aim of providing pupils with the knowledge they need.
As a school, Leverton has followed the PSHE Association’s planning and resources for the last three years. We were awarded Healthy Schools Status as a result of following their advice. We used their plans for our whole school Assemblies as well as PSHE lessons and class assemblies. We look carefully at the resources and always consider if they are suitable and appropriate for all children, including those with SEND. We assess and monitor the teaching through pupil voice, book scrutinies,, lesson observations and professional conversations. The DfE say that many schools will choose to teach the compulsory RSE/Health within a wider programme of PSHE and this is what we would propose to do in order to build on an established, high quality programme.
Much of the new RSE curriculum is complemented by the PSHE curriculum, citizenship, science and PE. The Subject leaders will work together to ensure work is not duplicated and to ensure work is appropriate for the age of the children.
Additionally, although teaching sex education is not compulsory at Primary, the government’s guidance is that we continue to prepare children for adolescence, using the appropriate language for this and the body. They explain that it is up to primary schools to determine whether we need to cover any additional content to meet the needs of our pupils. We have, for many years, supported pupils’ on-going emotional and physical development through science lessons on puberty and they are clear that we should ensure that our children are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and that they should know how a baby is conceived and born. This is part of our PSHE curriculum within the Health and Wellbeing section. The government states that puberty, including menstruation, should be covered in Health Education and should ensure male and female pupils are prepared for the physical and emotional changes they and their peers will experienced. We have not, in the past, discussed contraception with our year 6 children and we would ask for feedback on whether our community feels this should change or not going forward. Some of what we teach is part of the Science Curriculum: using the right words for parts of the body; and describing life cycles in animals; describing changes as humans develop. Additionally, in Year 5, children currently learn about the changes experienced in puberty. In year 6, we have also followed a programme to teach about human conception and birth alongside loving relationships. We are consulting on whether to continue with this: we use a Channel 4 dvd which explains through actors presenting loving relationships and animations / diagrams which explain how conception takes place. Class teachers or SLT teach the class, sometimes as a whole and sometimes in parts to take questions and to introduce the subject and to teach the correct, appropriate terminology. This is part of our safeguarding so that children use the correct words to adults such as doctors. The dvd is shown in advance of the lessons to any parent who wishes to see it and teachers are available to address any concerns and support parents in conversations on these issues. In the past five years, no parents have absented their children from sex education at Leverton. Parents do have the right to request that their child be excused from non-statutory sex education lessons delivered as part of statutory RSE in Primary schools. We would ask the parent to discuss the request with the headteacher to ensure their wishes are understood and to clarify the nature and purpose of the curriculum. This will be documented. Parents’ requests will be respected automatically, other than as part of the science curriculum. We should be clear that parents may not request that their child is withdrawn from any other Relationships or Health lessons as identified in our long term PSHE Plan (when agreed after consultation).
We propose that we continue to use the PSHE Association’s plans. They have been updated fully and we have long and medium term plans which cover Relationships, Living in the Wider World and Health and Wellbeing. Relationships learning includes staying safe, discussing differences sensitively and respecting others’ points of view. Health and Wellbeing includes staying safe in the sun, naming body parts and human reproduction. Whilst Living in the Wider World is not compulsory, it is considered very valuable as it includes subjects like looking after the environment, using the internet safely and valuing diversity. We would continue to use the free resources that we currently use from the NSPCC , and those that we pay for from the PSHE Association, BBC and Twinkl. We have some books purchased several years ago which we use to illustrate loving relationships. These are used in class assemblies, whole school assemblies and PSHE lessons in the appropriate year groups. The DfE recommend using the NSPCC Pants resources as well as the PSHE Association for Mental health. We already recommend to parents and carers that we use Thinkuknow which protects children online. Teachers also use their resources when appropriate.
We are confident that the updated PSHE planning complements our wider values and policies on behaviour, inclusion, equality and diversity and safeguarding and are within our ethos and pastoral care. We would value comments and answers to the questions, sent to parents and carers via ParentMail/email.