RSE Policy (pending approval)
(Relationships and Sex Education)
- Date created - 11th Nov 2023
- Date reviewed - 27th Nov 2023
- Date approved - Pending Approval/Under Consultation
- Next review date - 11th Nov 2024
The aims of relationships and sex education (RSE) at our academy are to:
- Provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place
- Prepare students for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene
- Help students develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy
- Create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships
- Teach students the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies
RSE is part of our academy's vision for personal development to ensure our students know how to keep themselves and others physically healthy, mentally well, and safe.
As a secondary academy, we must provide RSE to all students under section 34 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
In teaching RSE, we’re required by our funding agreements to have regard to guidance issued by the secretary of state, as outlined in section 403 of the Education Act 1996.
We also have regard to legal duties set out in:
- Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996
- Part 6, chapter 1 of the Equality Act 2010
- The Public Sector Equality Duty (as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010). This duty requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities
At Co-op Academy Belle Vue, we teach RSE as set out in this policy.
This policy has been developed in consultation with staff, students and parents/carers. The consultation and policy development process involved the following steps:
- Review – the AVP for Personal Development pulled together all relevant information including relevant national and local guidance
- Staff consultation – all school staff were given the opportunity to look at the policy and make recommendations
- Parent/stakeholder consultation – parents/carers and any interested parties were invited to attend a Family Forum about the policy. A questionnaire was also issued to parents and carers regarding RSE and wider PSHE curriculum
- Pupil consultation – we investigated what exactly students want from their RSE
- Ratification – once amendments were made, the policy was shared with governors and ratified
RSE is about the emotional, social and cultural development of students, and involves learning about relationships, sexual health, sexuality, healthy lifestyles, diversity and personal identity.
RSE involves a combination of sharing information, and exploring issues and values.
RSE is not about the promotion of sexual activity.
Our RSE curriculum, as part of the CARE curriculum at Co-op Academy Belle Vue, is set out as below. We may need to adapt it as and when necessary to remain responsive.
As an academy we will be completely transparent with all curriculum resources.
Examples of lesson resources for RSE within the CARE curriculum can be found below:
We have developed the curriculum in consultation with parents/carers, students and staff, and taking into account the age, developmental stage, needs and feelings of our students. Example resources for each year group have been provided at the consultation stage. If students ask questions outside the scope of this policy, teachers will respond in an appropriate manner so that students are fully informed and don’t seek answers online.
We will share curriculum materials with parents and carers before the curriculum content is covered in CARE curriculum lessons.
Delivery of RSE
RSE is taught within the CARE Curriculum at Co-op Academy Belle Vue. Biological aspects of RSE are taught within the science curriculum including puberty and menstruation. In the CARE curriculum this content is taught by the CARE curriculum teachers who receive training on the delivery of this content.
The RSE content features in half term three and half term five through the ‘Relationships’ and ‘Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing’ topics.
The CARE curriculum at Co-op Academy Belle Vue is designed to deliver the RSE content taking into consideration the current attainment, age, readiness, and cultural backgrounds of our young people and those with English as a second language to ensure that all can fully access the RSE provision.
Where agreed (with the SENDCO) pupils with special educational needs will be supported with careful use of language, and with the support of learning coaches.
RSE is set out in government guidance from the Department for Education available here.
RSE focuses on giving young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds including:
- Respectful relationships, including friendships
- Online and media
- Being safe
- Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health
We will teach about these topics in a manner that:
- Considers how a diverse range of students will relate to them
- Is sensitive to all students’ experiences
- During lessons, makes students feel:
- Safe and supported
- Able to engage with the key messages
We will also:
- Make sure that students learn about these topics in an environment and format that’s appropriate for them, for example in:
- A whole-class setting
- Small groups or targeted sessions
- 1-to-1 discussions
- Digital formats
- Pre prepared resource booklet
- Consider the levels of support and scaffolding required for some students
Use of resources
We will consider whether any resources we plan to use:
- Are aligned with the teaching requirements set out in the statutory RSE guidance
- Would support students in applying their knowledge in different contexts and settings
- Are age-appropriate, given the age, developmental stage and background of our students
- Are evidence-based and contain robust facts and statistics
- Fit into our curriculum plan
- Are from credible sources
- Are compatible with effective teaching approaches
- Are sensitive to students’ experiences and won’t provoke distress
Use of external organisations and materials
We will make sure that any agency and any materials used are appropriate and in line with our legal duties around political impartiality.
The school remains responsible for what is said to students. This includes making sure that any speakers, tools and resources used don’t undermine the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
We will make appropriate checks and engage with external agencies to make sure that their approach to teaching about RSE is balanced, and it and the resources they intend to use:
- Are age-appropriate
- Are in line with students’ developmental stage
- Comply with:
- This policy
- The Teachers’ Standards
- The Equality Act 2010
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- The Education Act 1996
We will only work with external agencies where we have full confidence in the agency, its approach and the resources it uses
We will make sure that any speakers and resources meet the intended outcome of the relevant part of the curriculum
We will review any case study materials and look for feedback from other people the agency has worked with
We will be clear on:
- What they’re going to say
- Their position on the issues to be discussed
We will ask to see in advance any materials that the agency may use
We will know the named individuals who will be there, and follow our usual safeguarding procedures for these people
We will conduct a basic online search and address anything that may be of concern to us, or to parents and carers
We will check the agency’s protocol for taking pictures or using any personal data they might get from a session
We will remind teachers that they can say “no” or, in extreme cases, stop a session
We will make sure that the teacher is in the room during any sessions with external speakers
We will share all external materials with parents and carers
We won’t, under any circumstances, work with external agencies that take or promote extreme political positions or use materials produced by such agencies, even if the material itself is not extreme.
Roles and responsibilities
- The governing body
The governing body will approve the RSE policy, and hold the Head of Academy to account for its implementation.
- The Head of Academy
The Head of Academy is responsible for ensuring that RSE is taught consistently across the school, for sharing resources and materials with parents and carers, and for managing requests to withdraw students from non-statutory components of RSE (see section on Parent’s right to withdraw).
Students are expected to engage fully in RSE and, when discussing issues related to RSE, treat others with respect and sensitivity.
Staff are responsible for:
- Delivering RSE in a sensitive way
- Modelling positive attitudes to RSE
- Monitoring progress
- Responding to the needs of individual pupils
- Responding appropriately to pupils whose parents/carers wish them to be withdrawn from the [non-statutory/non-science] components of RSE
Staff do not have the right to opt out of teaching RSE. Staff who have concerns about teaching RSE are encouraged to discuss this with the Assistant Vice Principal for Personal Development.
Parents’ right to withdraw
Parents/carers have the right to withdraw their child from the non-statutory components of sex education within RSE up to and until 3 terms before the child turns 16. After this point, if the child wishes to receive sex education rather than being withdrawn, the school will arrange this.
Requests for withdrawal should be put in writing addressed to the Head of Academy and should include a reason for the withdrawal as well as any other relevant information.
A copy of withdrawal requests will be placed in the pupil’s educational record. The Head of Academy will discuss the request with parents/carers and take appropriate action.
Alternative school work will be given to pupils who are withdrawn from sex education.
Staff are trained on the delivery of RSE as part of their induction to deliver the CARE curriculum and it is included in our continuing professional development calendar.
The Head of Academy will also invite visitors from outside the school, such as school nurses or sexual health professionals, to provide support and training to staff teaching RSE.
The delivery of RSE is monitored by Daniel Haste - Assistant Vice Principal - Personal Development through:
- Central control of lesson resources including booklets and slides.
- Learning walks
- Drop ins
- Pupil Voice
Pupils’ development in RSE is monitored by class teachers as part of our internal assessment systems.
This policy will be reviewed by Daniel Haste annually. At every review, the policy will be approved by the governing body.