Relationship Education

Maintained secondary schools in England and Wales have a legal responsibility to provide a ‘sex education’ programme. They also have a responsibility to keep an up to date written statement of the policy they choose to adopt and this must be available to parents and carers. A copy of our full policy can be downloaded by clicking here: Relationships and Sex Education

The term relationships and sex education (RSE) is used at The Joseph Whitaker School rather than sex education or relationships and sex education. This is to stress that our approach goes beyond provision of biological information to also focus on clarifying attitudes and values, and developing self-esteem and the skills to manage relationships.  It emphasises that our approach is about understanding, developing and valuing relationships.

According to DfE guidance, RSE is: ‘…lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of marriage for family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality and sexual health.’

 The guidance suggests that RSE should have three main elements as follows:

 Knowledge and understanding

  • Learning and understanding physical development at appropriate stages
  • Understanding human sexuality, sexual health, emotions and relationships
  • Learning about contraception and a range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services
  • Learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity and the benefits to be gained from such delay
  • The avoidance of unplanned pregnancy.
  • Learning the importance of values and individual conscience and moral considerations
  • Learning the value of family life, marriage and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children
  • Learning the value of respect, love and care
  • Exploring, considering and understanding moral dilemmas
  • Developing critical thinking as part of decision making.

 Attitudes and values

  • Learning the importance of values and individual conscience and moral considerations
  • Learning the value of family life, marriage and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children
  • Learning the value of respect, love and care
  • Exploring, considering and understanding moral dilemmas
  • Developing critical thinking as part of decision making.

Personal and social skills

  • Learning to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively
  • Developing self-respect and empathy for others
  • Learning to make choices based on an understanding of difference and with an absence of prejudice
  • Developing an appreciation of the consequences of choices made
  • Managing conflict
  • Learning how to recognise and avoid exploitation and abuse.

 The schools approach to RSE consists of:

  1. The taught National Curriculum Science Programme of Study
  2. RSE modules within each Key Stage delivered within a planned PSHCE programme
  3. Pastoral support for pupils who experience difficulties
  4. Provision of appropriate information through leaflets and books in the library and display of posters
  5. Collaborative work with a range of outside agencies.

Morals and Values Framework

 Our approach to RSE will be conducted within a clear morals and values framework based on the following principles:

  •  The value of stable and loving relationships
  • Respect, understanding and empathy towards others who may have different backgrounds, cultures, sexuality, feelings and views
  • The development of relationships, including sexual relationships, based on mutual consent, rather than coercion
  • The right not to be abused by other people or be taken advantage of
  • The right of people to follow their own sexuality, within legal parameters

 We also believe that pupils have an entitlement to:

  •  Age and circumstance appropriate RSE
  • Access to help from trusted adults and support services.

RSE involves consideration of a number of sensitive issues about which different people may hold strong and varying views. The school’s approach to RSE will be balanced and take account of, and be sensitive to, different viewpoints but will not be based on personal bias.

The Taught RSE Programme

The overall aims of the RSE programme are:

  1. To provide accurate information about, and understanding of, RSE issues
  2. To dispel myths
  3. To explore a range of attitudes towards RSE issues and to help pupils to reach their own informed views and choices for a healthier lifestyle
  4. To develop respect and care for others
  5. To increase pupil’s self-esteem
  6. To develop skills relevant to effective management of relationships and sexual situations. Examples include communication with and empathy towards others, risk assessment, assertiveness, conflict management, decision making, seeking help and helping others
  7. To contribute to a reduction in local and national teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and abortion rates.

METHODS OF DELIVERY

The core content of our sex education programme is delivered through lessons within Science, PSHCE and Religious Education.

Outside these planned lessons, and indeed in any subject area, questions which have some relevance to sexual matters may arise during discussion. In order to avoid any question of parental withdrawal from such lessons, the law requires that “such discussion is relatively limited and set within the context of the subject concerned”.

It is our policy that wherever possible, lessons should be taught in mixed gender groups. Certain parts of the curriculum are, however, taught in single sex groups.

Confidentiality

Policy in this area does not deviate from the school’s general practice on all such matters:

  • When necessary, pupils will be made aware that confidentiality is not guaranteed
  • In case of suspicion of possible abuse, staff will immediately inform the schools Safeguarding Officers who will then take appropriate action in accordance with local procedures
  • Any other personal disclosure will not be encouraged, but if made and of a serious nature such as pregnancy or the seeking of personal contraception advice, the matter will be referred to the Associate Leader (Care, Guidance and Support), Mr Brooks

Parental concerns and withdrawal of pupils

Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from dedicated ‘sex education’ lessons. They do not have a right to withdraw their children from those aspects of RSE that are taught in National Curriculum Science or where RSE issues arise incidentally in other subject areas.

We will work in active partnership with parents/carers, value their views and keep them informed about out RSE provision. If a parent/carer has any concerns about the RSE provision we will take time to address their concerns and allay any fears they may have. If any parents/carers decide to withdraw their child we shall work with them and their child to explore possible alternative provision.