Relationships and Sex Education Consultation
From September 2020, relationships and sex education will become statutory in all secondary schools in England. As part of our work to ensure that we are meeting this requirement we would like to give you some information about what exactly we are expected to deliver to our pupils. We would also like to give you as parents and carers an opportunity to feed into this area of education to develop a shared set of values between the academy and parents and carers in this area.
What is changing?
From 2020, the following subjects will become compulsory in applicable schools in England.
- relationship and sex education in secondary schools
- health education in state funded secondary schools
These subjects will support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, equipping them for life as an adult in British society.
Some parts of the new curriculum, as with the current curriculum, are compulsory. These are part of the national curriculum for science.
The Academy must publish policies for these subjects online and make them available to anyone free of charge. Schools should also share examples of resources, for example books and leaflets.
The new RSE requirements:
From September 2020, all schools with a secondary phase (including all-through and middle schools) will need to provide:
- Relationships and sex education (RSE)
- Health education
Changes to the right to withdraw:
Parents/ carers will have the right to withdraw their child from part or all of the sex education delivered as part of RSE. When the new requirements come into place, parents/ carers can do this until 3 terms before their child turns 16. After that, it'll be the child's decision. Currently, the SRE guidance doesn't set any age limit for withdrawing a child from sex education.
If a pupil is withdrawn, it will be the Academy’s responsibility to ensure they receive appropriate, purposeful education during the withdrawal period.
Parents cannot withdraw their child from the relationship education in RSE or health education.
Frequently asked questions:
Throughout the Governments engagement and development process of this new RSE curriculum, a number of wide-ranging concerns have been heard. To support you with understanding this change in your child’s education some of the common misconceptions around the subjects are highlighted below.
Will my child’s school have to engage with me before teaching these subjects?
Schools will be required to consult with parents when developing and reviewing their policies for Relationships Education and RSE, which will inform schools’ decisions on when and how certain content is covered. Effective engagement gives the space and time for parents to input, ask questions, share concerns and for the school to decide the way forward. Schools will listen to parents’ views, and then make a reasonable decision as to how they wish to proceed. When and how content is taught is ultimately a decision for the school, and consultation does not provide a parental veto on curriculum content.
school’s policies for these subjects must be published online and must be available to any individual free of charge. Schools should also ensure that, when they engage parents, they provide examples of the resources they plan to use, for example, the books they will use in lessons.
Does the new Relationships Education and RSE curriculum take account of my faith?
The subjects are designed to help children from all backgrounds build positive and safe relationships and to thrive in modern Britain.
In all schools, when teaching these subjects, the religious background of pupils must be taken into account when planning teaching, so that topics are appropriately handled. Schools with a religious character can build on the core required content by reflecting their beliefs in their teaching.
In developing these subjects, we have worked with a number of representative bodies and faith organisations, representing all the major faith groups in England. Several faith organisations produce teaching materials that schools can choose to use.
Do I have a right to withdraw my child from Relationships and Sex Education?
Parents will continue to have a right to request to withdraw their child from sex education delivered as part of RSE in secondary schools which, unless there are exceptional circumstances, should be granted up to three terms before their child turns 16. At this point, if the child themselves wishes to receive sex education rather than be withdrawn, the school should make arrangements for this to happen in one of the three terms before the child turns 16 - the legal age of sexual consent.
There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education at primary or secondary as we believe the contents of these subjects – such as family, friendship, safety (including online safety) – are important for all children to be taught.
Has the government listened to the views of my community in introducing these subjects?
A thorough engagement process, involving a public call for evidence and discussions with over 90 organisations, as well as the public consultation on the draft regulations and guidance, has informed the key decisions on these subjects. The consultation received over 11,000 responses from teachers, schools, expert organisations, young people and parents – these responses have helped finalise the statutory guidance.
Will my child be taught about LGBT relationships?
Pupils should be taught about the society in which they are growing up. These subjects are designed to foster respect for others and for difference and to educate pupils about healthy relationships.
Pupils should receive teaching on LGBT content during their school years. Teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist can be done in a way that respects everyone. Secondary schools should cover LGBT content in their RSE teaching. RSE should meet the needs of all pupils, whatever their developing sexuality or identity – this should include age-appropriate teaching about different types of relationships in the context of the law.
What support will schools receive to deliver these subjects well?
The Government are investing in a central support package to help teachers introduce these subjects well and with confidence. This will include a new online service, featuring access to high-quality resources, innovative training materials, case studies and an implementation guide, available from Spring 2020.
There will also be training available for teachers through existing regional networks, offering opportunities to improve subject knowledge and build confidence. The Government are working with expert organisations, schools and teachers to develop this support.
Where can I find out more information about what will be taught in my child’s school?
If you want to know more about what will be taught as part of the new subjects, the best thing to do is speak to us. We have also provided access to parent guides, which explain what the subjects are, and parents’ rights.
These subjects are designed to equip your child with knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for successful adult life. The important lessons you teach your child about healthy relationships, looking after themselves and staying safe, are respected and valued under this new curriculum.
Teaching at school will complement and reinforce the lessons you teach your child as they grow up. Your child’s school will have the flexibility to deliver the content in a way that is age and developmentally appropriate and sensitive to the needs and religious background of its pupils.
What will be taught from September 2020?
Please click each section to expand for more information
Relationships and sex education expectations:
By the end of secondary, pupils will need to know about:
- That there are different types of committed, stable relationships
- How these relationships might contribute to human happiness and their importance for bringing up children
- What marriage and civil partnerships are, including their legal status (e.g. that marriage and civil partnerships carries legal rights and protections not available to couples who are cohabiting or who have married, for example, in an unregistered religious ceremony)
- Why marriage and civil partnerships are an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be freely entered into
- The characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships
- The roles and responsibilities of parents with respect to the raising of children, including the characteristics of successful parenting
- How to determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy; how to judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe (and to recognise this in others’ relationships); and how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others, if needed
Respectful relationships, including friendships
- The characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (in all contexts, including online), including: trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending relationships. This includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship
- Practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships
- How stereotypes, in particular stereotypes based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)
- That in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and in turn, they should show due respect to others, including people in positions of authority, and due tolerance of other people’s beliefs
- About different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders to report bullying, and how and where to get help
- That some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control
- What constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable
- The legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal
Online and media
- Their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online
- About online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online
- Not to provide material to others that they would not want to be shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them
- What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online
- The impact of viewing harmful content
- That specifically sexually explicit material (e.g. pornography) presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviour, can damage the way people themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners
- That sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail
- How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online
- The concepts of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and FGM, and how these can affect current and future relationships
- How people can actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent, and how and when consent can be withdrawn (in all contexts, including online)
Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health
- How to recognise the characteristics and positive aspects of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships, which include mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex, and friendship
- That all aspects of health can be affected by choices they make in sex and relationships, positively or negatively (e.g. physical, emotional, mental, sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing)
- The facts about reproductive health, including fertility and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women
- That there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others
- That they have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex
- The facts about the full range of contraceptive choices, efficacy and options available
- The facts around pregnancy, including miscarriage
- That there are choices in relation to pregnancy (with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options, including keeping the baby, adoption, abortion and where to get further help)
- How the different sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, are transmitted, how risk can be reduced through safer sex (including through condom use) and the importance of and facts about testing
- About the prevalence of some STIs, the impact they can have on those who contract them and key facts about treatment
- How the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviour
- How to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment
Health education expectations:
Please click each section to expand for more information
By the end of secondary, pupils will need to know about:
- How to talk about their emotions accurately and sensitively, using appropriate vocabulary
- That happiness is linked to being connected to others
- How to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns
- Common types of mental ill-health (e.g. anxiety and depression)
- How to critically evaluate when something they do or are involved in has a positive or negative effect on their own or others’ mental health
- The benefits and importance of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation and voluntary and service-based activities on mental wellbeing and happiness
Internet safety and harms
- The similarities and differences between the online world and the physical world, including: the impact of unhealthy or obsessive comparison with others online (including through setting unrealistic expectations for body image or how people may curate a specific image of their life online); over-reliance on online relationships including social media; the risks related to online gambling including the accumulation of debt; how advertising and information is targeted at them; and how to be a discerning consumer of information online
- How to identify harmful behaviours online (including bullying, abuse or harassment) and how to report, or find support, if they have been affected by those behaviours
Physical health and fitness
- The positive associations between physical activity and promotion of mental wellbeing, including as an approach to combat stress
- The characteristics and evidence of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight (including the links between an inactive lifestyle and ill health, such as cancer and cardio-vascular ill health)
- About the science relating to blood, organ and stem cell donation
How to maintain healthy eating and the links between a poor diet and health risks, including tooth decay and cancer
Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- The facts about legal and illegal drugs and their associated risks, including the link to serious mental health conditions
- The law relating to the supply and possession of illegal substances
- The physical and psychological risks associated with alcohol consumption and what constitutes low risk alcohol consumption in adulthood
- The physical and psychological consequences of addiction, including alcohol dependency
- Awareness of the dangers of drugs which are prescribed but still present serious health risks
- The facts about the harms from smoking tobacco (particularly the risk to lung cancer), the benefits of quitting and how to access support to do so
Health and prevention
- About personal hygiene, germs (including bacteria and viruses), how they are spread, treatment and prevention of infection, and about antibiotics
- About dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene and dental flossing, including healthy eating and regular check-ups at the dentist
- In late secondary, the benefits of regular self-examination and screening
- The facts and science relating to immunisation and vaccination
- The importance of sufficient good quality sleep for good health and how a lack of sleep can affect weight, mood and ability to learn
Basic first aid
- Basic treatment for common injuries
- Life-saving skills, including how to administer CPR (best taught after 12 years old)
- The purpose of defibrillators and when one might be needed
Changing adolescent bodies
- Key facts about puberty, the changing adolescent body and menstrual wellbeing
- The main changes which take place in males and females, and the implications for emotional and physical health
As part of our consolation process, we would like to seek your views and gauge any concerns you have regarding the content of the new RSE curriculum before its delivery in September 2020. Alongside this, the legislation makes it clear that all schools should approach RSE in a faith sensitive and inclusive way, seeking to explain fairly the tenets and varying interpretations of religious communities on matters of sex and relationships and teach these viewpoints with respect. With this in mind, we would ask that you contribute to the development of our RSE curriculum by completing a short survey where we would ask you to answer a few questions relating to the content above.
We would also like to receive your feedback regarding our new RSE policy. Below is a link which will direct you to our draft RSE policy for you to read. The survey gives you room to comment on this policy as part of your feedback.
Disclaimer: While your views as parents are welcome and will be genuinely reflected on to reach our final decisions, they do not amount to a veto over curriculum content. We understand that different parents/ carers are likely to have conflicting views and the academy needs to consider other factors, alongside parent/ carer views, in making our decision. This means that a veto from parents/ carers is not possible and would not be in the best interests of the Academy. We are clear that all parties should engage in open, constructive and respectful dialogue at all times.
To read more about the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum at Nottingham Academy click this link PHSE Curriculum
Signpost to the new policy and guidance for parents:
Relationships (and sex) education and health education (updated statutory guidance and consultation outcomes), DfE, February 2019: http://bit.ly/2OZCqBf
Relationships, sex and health education: guides for parents