Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)
From the academic year 2020-2021, all primary schools in England must teach Relationships and Health Education (RSHE). The government has set out guidance about what they expect children to know by the time they leave primary education but it is up to schools to decide how they will teach this. As a school, we would like to discuss our approach with you. There is no legal requirement for schools to teach sex education but the government recommends children learn about some key areas before they leave primary school. As a church school, this will always be done in line with the Church of England’s guidance on the teaching of RSHE.
In our school, we have been teaching these topics for a number of years. As with other subjects, we will work hard to make sure the lessons meet the needs of the children and are age-appropriate. These topics are really important in helping children deal with current experiences and also to prepare them for the next stage of their education and ultimately for adult life.
Schools and the government recognise the important role you play in educating your children and this is especially true for RSHE. It is important that children can discuss and ask questions both at home and at school.
What will my child be learning about?
As a school, we have chosen to use lesson plans from KAPOW Primary, an online provider of resources for primary schools. These lessons cover the statutory requirements and have been carefully planned to be age-appropriate. They also give the opportunity for children to revisit topics in different year groups. This is important as they will learn more and see things differently as they mature.
The lessons are divided up into three overarching themes:
• Families and relationships
• Health and wellbeing
• Safety and the changing body
Below is a summary of some of the areas covered within each theme:
Families and relationships
• How to form and maintain friendships
• Importance of family
• Different types of families
• Dealing with problems in friendships
• Online relationships, including staying safe
Health and wellbeing
• Mental health and wellbeing
• Healthy eating
• Physical activity
• Dental health
• Importance of sleep
• First aid
Safety and the changing body
• Online safety
• Safety around adults
• Understanding their body
• Physical changes during puberty
• Emotional changes during puberty
• Asking for help when needed
The lessons will give children the opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of the topic. They will also be able to explore their feelings and ideas about topics and listen to the views of other people. The overall aim is for children to be able to make their informed choices and decisions.
Will my child have to take part?
All the content outlined above is statutory and therefore all children should be taught it. As with any other subject teachers will ensure that the lesson is taught in a way which means children of all abilities will learn. The government is very clear that they want children with special educational needs (SEN) to be included in these lessons.
As a parent, you do not have the right to withdraw your child from any of the statutory content on either relationships or health. You only have the right to withdraw your child from the sex education content that we choose to teach, apart from National Curriculum Science. It is recommended that you talk to your child’s school about this before making a decision.
Parents and carers are sometimes concerned about the conversations children may have in RSHE lessons, but teachers have lots of ways to make sure children are safe in these lessons. For example, they will have ground rules to make sure children feel confident to share their ideas, they will use things like puppets and stories, so children are discussing a made-up characters’ experiences rather than their own. They also know the children in their class well and will have a sense of their needs and what they teach will be age appropriate.
It is important to balance what children know already and to prepare them for the future. Discussing issues in the safe learning environment of the classroom before they experience them in real life is very valuable for children.