Great Massingham & Harpley Church of England Primary Schools Federation
Relationships Education, Sex Education and Health Education Policy
The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, make Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools from September 2021. This draft policy sets out how the Federation intends to approach the subject and has been drawn up following the guidance issued by the Department of Education. All parents/guardians will receive a copy of this draft policy before it is adopted by the Governing Body in order to allow time for feedback in accordance with consultation guidelines. Thereafter the adopted policy will be available to view on both school websites or available on request from the school offices.
Relationships Education will have some overlap with the existing PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education) curriculum but the plan is to update this for the 21st century and make it compulsory in all schools. Although parents or guardians cannot withdraw a child from Relationships Education, the federation will listen to their views and take a balanced and considered approach. In Primary schools, parents or guardians continue to have the right to request the withdrawal of a child from the separate topic of Sex Education.
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) programmes will be developed by the appointed PSHE Co-ordinator and will be taught in a way which reflects the wider ethos, values and principles of Great Massingham & Harpley Church of England Primary Schools Federation.
The Federation is committed to Equal Opportunities and will aim to respond to the diversity of children’s cultures, faiths and family backgrounds. We recognize the importance of making the necessary adjustments to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to pupils with Special Educational Needs and other vulnerable groups.
In Primary schools, Relationships Education will cover topics such as:
Families and Marriage (including same-sex marriage)
Online Relationships & Internet Safety
The Benefits of Exercise and Healthy Diet
See Appendix 1 for more detail about what will be included under each of these headings.
The curriculum may vary in response to emerging issues and to reflect the rapidly changing world in which our pupils are living and learning. Parents will be given notice of amendments.
Relationships Education should reinforce that positive relationships are the fundamental building blocks for a happy and fulfilling life and good mental wellbeing. This learning begins in the home but continues into school through being taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness and understanding of boundaries in play, in physical contact, in negotiations about space, toys, books, resources and so on.
Relationships Education will not be taught in isolation but will be firmly embedded throughout the school curriculum in planned, timetabled lessons but also through PSHE and the PATHS programme, and complimented by the ‘No Outsiders for a Faith Community’ programme developed for primary schools, themed assemblies, topic days, Federation days and cross curricular links.
The PATHS programme for schools (UK) was purchased by the Federation in 2019 and implemented in both Federation schools. It is designed to facilitate self-control, emotional awareness and inter-personal problem solving skills. The implementation of PATHS means that many of the core areas of Relationships Education are already being covered and will continue to be developed within the existing PATHS programme.
Combined with Sex Education, Relationships Education will equip children with age-appropriate but accurate information, positive values and the skills to enjoy healthy, safe and positive relationships, to celebrate their uniqueness and to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing now and in the future. Great Massingham and Harpley schools have been teaching Sex Education to Years 5 & 6 for many years, in close partnership with parents. Communication has been key, with parents attending face to face meetings to discuss the curriculum, being given copies of resources and FAQs to help them, providing the reassurance that content is always matched to a child’s level of maturity. It is important that the transition phase before moving to High School supports pupils’ ongoing emotional and physical development effectively. As your child approaches this more focused sex education, you will be contacted with information about content and about your rights of withdrawal. But preparation begins much earlier than Y5 & 6. Much younger children need to understand that we are the custodians of our own bodies and that we should look after them and protect them and that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of touching others, not to introduce fear or worry but to keep them safe and to underline our commitment to safeguarding children.
Children of Primary age will often ask questions pertaining to sex or sexuality which go beyond what is normally covered in Relationships Education. Given the ease of access to the internet, children whose questions are unanswered may seek information in inappropriate places. Teachers will answer questions using their own skill and discretion about what is age appropriate, what is suitable for a whole class discussion and what would be better dealt with on a one to one basis. Children will also have access to an ‘ask it basket’ if they do not wish to ask a question directly.
Any disclosure made by a child during such a discussion, and which relates to a child protection issue, will be dealt with in line with our separate Safeguarding Policy and reported immediately to the relevant Designated Safeguarding Lead.