The requirements for teaching Relationship Education in primary are described in the DfE statutory guidance and based on the guidance, we have defined Relationships Education as learning about
- Different relationships (including online) and how to make and maintain healthy, caring and respectful relationships within families and friendships
- The importance of families for caring for children
- How to recognise when a relationship is unhealthy or unsafe and how to seek help and report concerns or abuse (including online)
- The importance of respecting others who are different from themselves whether physically, their family structure, their race, religion, belief, disability or sexual orientation
- Different types of bullying and discriminatory language, the impact it has and how to prevent it and get help
- Stereotypes and how they can lead to prejudice and discrimination eg based on gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation
- How to recognise risk and be safe online
Purpose of the Policy
The purpose of the policy is to:
- Give information to staff, parents and carers, governors, pupils and outside visitors about what is taught in Relationships Education, how it is taught and who teaches it
- Enable parents and carers to support their children in learning about Relationships Education
- Give a clear statement on what the school aims to achieve from Relationships Education, the values underpinning it and why it is compulsory for all primary school pupils
- Sets out how Relationships Education meets schools’ legal requirements to promote well being (Children Act 2004), prepare children for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult life (Education Act 2006), meet the school’s safeguarding obligations, comply with the Equality Act 2010 to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups
The policy also includes a statement on Sex Education which covers a definition, what is taught, who teaches it and parents right to withdraw.
Development of the school Policy
We have taken account of the
- Statutory guidance on Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education (DfE Feb 2019)
- Camden’s example policy November 2019
- Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Duty
Links to other policies
This policy links to our Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, Behaviour policy, Anti-bullying policy, Equality policy and Online safety policy.
Our provision of Relationships Education is part of our approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of children and our commitment to being recognised as a healthy school.
Why teach Relationships Education at primary school?
The government has made Relationships Education a statutory part of the curriculum and we agree that this is a crucial aspect of the primary curriculum.
We want children to develop the skills to make positive, caring, respectful and healthy relationships; in their friendships, within their families and with other children and adults.
We recognise that many children in primary already have active online lives and that the knowledge and skills they learn in Relationships Education will enable them to navigate the online world safely and understand what is and is not appropriate behaviour.
Through Relationships Education, pupils also gain the knowledge they need to recognise and report abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse and keep themselves safe.
For all these important reasons, the government has made Relationships Education a compulsory part of the school curriculum in which all pupils are required to participate and parents do not have the right to withdraw them.
Values promoted through Relationships Education
We are committed to creating an inclusive school that promotes diversity and equality and fundamental British Values*. Teaching relationships education will ensure that all children develop respect for others and for difference, and tolerance and understanding of all aspects of diversity. We want all children to understand and feel accepted in the society they are growing up in and for every child in Beckford to thrive in modern Britain.
We believe that Relationships Education promotes the aims and values of our school which include
- Respect for self and others
- Kindness and consideration for others
- Commitment, trust and love within relationships
- Promoting equality and respecting rights and responsibilities in relationships
- Respecting and celebrating difference and diversity
- Preventing prejudice and discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender reassignment**
- Promoting gender equality, challenging gender stereotypes and inequality
- Valuing family life and stable, loving and caring relationships, including marriage and civil partnerships, for bringing up children
- Everyone has the right to a healthy and safe relationship
* democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and mutual respect and tolerance
**protected characteristics as enshrined in law through the Equality Act 2010
Aims for Relationships Education
Our Relationships Education programme aims to help children
- Develop the confidence to talk about relationships
- Develop the skills to make and maintain healthy and respectful friendships and family relationships
- Recognise unhealthy or unsafe relationships, including friendships (and online), within the family and with known or unknown adults
- Recognise the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe contact; physical or otherwise, and to know how to report it and get help.
- Understand the importance of respecting others even when they are different from them
- Understand and respect different types of families, including families with one parent, with same sex parents, families that foster and adopt children
- Challenge and prevent discrimination based on difference eg race, religion, gender, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation
- Recognise bullying and discriminatory language based on race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation and develop the confidence to prevent it and report it
- Challenge gender stereotypes and inequality and promote equality and respect in relationships
- Know how to be safe online and behave respectfully and appropriately
- Know where and how to seek information and advice when they need help
Content and Organisation of Relationships Education
Where is Relationships Education taught?
Relationships Education will be taught through a planned programme of PSHE and Citizenship taught as timetabled lessons in all years. Sometimes this may be organised as blocks of teaching eg teaching about preventing bullying to coincide with anti-bullying week or integrated into topics such as Me and My family, Keeping Safe and Online Safety.
What is taught in Relationships Education?
Our Relationships Education programme
- Reflects the statutory requirements in the DfE Guidance that describes what needs to be taught by the end of primary (see appendix 1)
- We have planned the curriculum so that the knowledge, skills and attitudes are appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils and progress from one year to another, building on what has been learnt in previous years.
Teaching about difference and diversity
The Government guidance “expects all pupils to have been taught LGBT content at a timely point as part of this area of the curriculum”. We will not have specific LGBT lessons but through our teaching will help children to understand the society in which they are living and growing up in, as well as be respectful of others and difference.
This will mean that when pupils learn about families, we will include families with two mums and two dads and when pupils learn about marriage, they will learn that marriage can be between opposite sex and same sex couples. When children learn about bullying and discriminatory language they will learn that this can happen because people are different or perceived to be different, and this can be because they have a different religion, are a different race, have a disability, or a different sexual orientation.
In Year 1
In Year 1 children talk about their children’s families to understand that all families are different but that they all love and care for one another. We use story books that show a wide range of family structures, including families with two mums and two dads
From Year 2
We introduce the idea that other people’s families may not be the same as our own, but that is ok and that even though they are different their love and care for one another is what is important and that we respect one another’s’ differences. Children talk about their own family structures which might include families with one parent, with parents who are married, with parents that are not married, families with parents who are divorced where children might have parents and step parents, families where children are living with relatives such as aunts and grandmothers.
Teachers introduce a range of family structures to reflect the diversity within the school and within the community such as families where children are fostered and adopted and families where there are two mums and two dads.
The diversity of families is included when children cover the topic of families in Key Stage 2.
Teaching about different relationships
In Year 6 pupils learn that there are different types of romantic relationships, and that these can be between couples of the same and different sex. They learn a basic meaning of the words heterosexual, gay and lesbian.
Teaching about preventing bullying and discriminatory language
We do not tolerate any type of bullying or discriminatory language, including using the word lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in an insulting or derogatory way. The Equality Act 2010 requires schools to prevent all types of discrimination.
When we teach about bullying, we cover all types of bullying and discriminatory language, including bullying based on race, religion, disability, gender, gender reassignment and sexual orientation. They also learn what homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying mean.
Pupils learn about the impact that bullying and discriminatory language have on people, how these can cause prejudice and discrimination and mental health problems and what we can do to prevent this happening.
How is Relationships Education taught?
- We recognise that teaching about some aspects of Relationships Education is sensitive. All teachers set a group agreement or ground rules with pupils to ensure that an atmosphere is created where pupils feel able to ask questions, discuss concerns, talk about feelings and relationships, understand about confidentiality, are respectful of one another and do not discuss or ask private information of each other or the teacher.
- We will emphasise the importance of strong and supportive relationships, including marriage and civil partnerships (between opposite and same sex couples), and that caring and loving relationships are at the heart of happy and secure family life.
- Teaching resources are chosen to ensure that they are appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils. They take into account equality of opportunity through their use of language, cultural attitudes, family make-up and images, including body image, avoiding stereotyping, racism and sexism.
- A variety of teaching methods are used that enable pupils to participate and reflect on their learning, role play, quizzes, pair and small group work, mixing groups so that pupils work with a range of peers. We may also use case studies, stories, puppets and role plays to help de-personalise discussions and help pupils gain confidence to talk and listen to each other.
- We ensure that the Relationships Education teaching programme is inclusive and is appropriate and relevant to all pupils, including those with SEN and disabilities. Where needed, Relationships Education is differentiated to meet the needs of pupils and specialist resources may be used to respond to their individual needs. In some cases pupils have individual support or work in small groups.
- Teachers ensure that the content, approach and use of inclusive language reflect the diversity of the school community and wider society, and help all pupils feel valued and included, regardless of their gender, race, religion, ability, disability and family structure
- Teachers do not discuss details of their personal relationships with pupils
Answering children’s questions
We answer questions honestly and sensitively, appropriate to the age and maturity of the pupils. Some questions may not be answered immediately if the teacher feels they need to consult with the Headteacher or parents. Some questions may be more appropriately answered on a one-to-one basis, rather than with the whole class.
Who teaches Relationships Education?
Relationships Education will be taught by the class teacher but sometimes outside organisations are involved eg a Theatre Company during anti-bullying week
If visitors are involved in Relationships Education, we will
- Ensure their contribution is integrated into our scheme of work
- Provide the visitor with an up-to-date copy of the school's Relationships Education Policy and ensure they adhere to it
- Ensure that the class teacher is present throughout the lesson/session, taking responsibility for class management
- Follow up the learning in later lessons
Sex Education and the right to withdraw children
In this school we teach some sex education that is in addition to the science national curriculum and sex education is defined as teaching about sexual intercourse in the context of learning about how a baby is made and a basic understanding of pregnancy and how the baby develops. This is taught in Year 6, usually by the class teacher.
Right to withdraw children from sex education
We hope that parents and carers will support this important part of children’s education and we will make sure that all parents and carers know what we will be teaching and when. However we understand that some parents may want to educate their children about these aspects of sex education and parents have the right to request that their child is withdrawn from any or all parts of sex education.
If a parent wishes to withdraw their child from the sex education lessons they must arrange a meeting with a member of the Senior Leadership Team who will talk through their concerns and discuss the benefits of their child learning about sex education. If they decide to withdraw their child, work will be provided to do in another class. We will offer packs of the teaching materials if parents wish to use this with their children at home. Parents can talk to a member of SLT about the resources to support this.
Science National Curriculum
All primary schools are required to teach the Science National Curriculum which covers the biological aspects of sex education; growth and development, naming body parts, a basic understanding of the life process of reproduction and the human life cycle. See Appendix 1. Parents do not have the right to withdraw from Science.
Health Education and Puberty
All primary schools are required to teach statutory Health Education that includes teaching about puberty. We begin teaching about puberty in Year 4 as part of learning about the human life cycle and introduce basic information about the changes for boys and girls that happen at puberty. We continue in Year 5 with more detailed information about what happens at puberty including the physical and emotional changes and revisit this in Year 6.
How is sex education, biological aspects of science and puberty taught?
These are taught through PSHE and Science in mixed groups to ensure that boys and girls learn the same information. However, sometimes it is useful in Years 5 and 6 to include time when single sex groups can discuss issues with a teacher of the same gender.
When we teach the biological aspects of science, puberty (Year 5 and 6) and sex education (Year 6) we provide a question box so that pupils can anonymously ask questions and these are then answered by the class teacher.
To ensure that the Relationships Education programme meets the needs of pupils, the PSHE Coordinator involves the school council in reviewing and evaluating the programme each year.
The PSHE Coordinator also gathers feedback from teachers about pupils’ engagement in the curriculum.
Confidentiality, safeguarding and child protection
Although Relationships Education is not about personal disclosures and personal issues, it is possible that a pupil may disclose personal information. Staff understand that they cannot promise pupils absolute confidentiality, and pupils know this too.
If teachers are concerned in any way that a pupil is at risk of sexual or any other kind of abuse, they will talk to the Designated Safeguarding Lead and follow the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures. If a pupil discloses to a teacher that they are sexually active, or are considering sexual activity, then this would be viewed as a child protection issue.
Assessing Relationships Education
Pupils’ progress in learning in Relationships Education is assessed as part of the assessment in PSHE and citizenship.
Monitoring and evaluating Relationships Education
The PSHE Coordinator monitors teachers’ planning to ensure Relationships Education is being taught.
Pupils and staff are involved in evaluating the Relationships Education teaching programme as part of the annual review of PSHE and Citizenship. There are discussions with staff about the impact of the curriculum on pupil’s learning and their engagement in the learning and the school council are involved in giving feedback about the PSHE curriculum.
Training for Staff
It is important that Relationships Education and Sex Education are taught by teachers that are knowledgeable, skilled and confident. We ensure that teachers have received up to date training and provide a range of training opportunities including school based INSET, team teaching, classroom observations and external training courses provided by Camden Health and Wellbeing Team and other organisations.
Training could include:
- What to teach and when
- Leading discussions about attitudes and values
- Information updates
- Practising a variety of teaching methods
- Facilitating group discussions
- Answering questions
- Managing sensitive and controversial issues
Engaging and Involving Parents/Carers
We place the utmost importance on sharing responsibility with parents and carers for their children’s education. We take account of religious and cultural views and aim to balance parental views with our commitment to comprehensive Relationships Education and compliance with the statutory guidance and Equality Act.
We will let parents know what will be taught and when and the resources that will be used and particularly consult parents before Year 6 about what will be taught in sex education and the resources that will be used..
We will take every opportunity to inform and involve parents and carers by
- Consulting with parents when developing the Relationships Education policy and when it is reviewed
- Publishing the Relationships Education policy on the school website
- Including a summary of the content and organisation of Relationships Education and Sex Education in the school prospectus/information
- Providing information about content of the Relationships Education and Sex education teaching programme as part of the termly information on the curriculum
- Inviting parents and carers to a workshop to find out about the Relationships Education and Sex Education programmes
- Inviting Year 5 and 6 parents to a meeting about what will be taught in relationships education, science and sex education and include tips for talking to their children about relationships education and sex education