“Effective RSE does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, build their confidence and self-esteem and understand reasons for delaying sexual activity. Effective RSE also supports people throughout life to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships at the appropriate time.”
DfE Statutory Guidance for Relationships and Sex Education
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced changes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). These changes were due to come into effect from September 2020; this date has been extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but all schools will now be required to comply with the updated requirements. This means that we have reviewed our RSE curriculum and policy so we can be sure our RSE provision is appropriate for all of our pupils based on their:
Physical and emotional maturity
Religious and cultural backgrounds
Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities
You will be aware that, as a part of your child’s education at Longdon Park School, we aim to promote personal wellbeing and development through their Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) lessons, as well as careers and preparing for adulthood lessons. This gives our students the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive and fulfilled lives, both now and in the future. This is taught throughout the week in timetabled lessons to each class throughout the school adapted to their abilities.
What does the new guidance mean?
The new RSE guidance focuses on healthy relationships and keeping children safe in the modern world. It also covers a wide range of topics relating to physical and mental health, wellbeing, safeguarding and healthy relationships. Learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up will give young people the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships and will help them take responsibility for their own well-being.
How will this be delivered?
RSE is delivered as part of the wider RSHE curriculum; each class has at one 40-minute lesson on their timetable each week, delivered by the RSE lead. We may sometimes ask external specialists to provide sessions to supplement learning, for example, PCSOs. All teaching in RSHE, which encompasses careers and preparing for adulthood will continue to take place in a safe learning environment by the form tutor. This is underpinned by our school ethos and values, as well as being in line with Safeguarding guidelines and procedures. A variety of opportunities will be provided for pupils to learn and ask questions to further their understanding and to find out more about what affects them personally in their ever-changing social world. This will give every pupil the best possible opportunities for ‘Life after Longdon’.
Does my child have to do these lessons?
The DfE states that parents/carers have the right to withdraw their child from the specific Sex Education lessons within the RSE curriculum by putting their wishes in writing to the Head of School following a discussion with staff. However, they are clear that you may not withdraw your child from the wider Relationships Education curriculum, any aspect of Health Education, or from the elements of the Science curriculum that cover puberty, conception and reproduction. There is also an expectation that parents/carers who do withdraw their child provide this at home instead, and schools are advised to provide materials for you to do this if required. You can opt to withdraw your child up to 3 terms before they reach the age of 16; after this, attendance in these lessons is their own choice. Whilst we will always respect parental/carer wishes, we do strongly recommend that pupils are allowed to attend all lessons, as the likelihood is that they will hear about the content from their peers outside of the classroom without a teacher present to correct any misinformation.
What if I have questions?
In the first instance, to introduce parents and carers to the new RSE curriculum, we invite you to review the draft policy and the statutory content of the relationships and sex education programme which is contained within it.
In addition, as a school community, we are committed to working with parents, so please do not hesitate to contact RSE lead, Emma Barton, if you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of our RSE provision.
Promotion of British Values
Background and Rationale
The Department for Education have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The Prevent Strategy recognises the importance of schools in counter-terrorism activities. More recently, concerns about the inappropriate actions of some schools were highlighted in the Birmingham Trojan Horse case, where a number of OFSTED inspections revealed a failure to promote British values adequately in some schools, meaning that young people in them were vulnerable to radical and extremist ideas. Consequently, all schools need a clear statement of British values and how they are promoted through the school’s curriculum.
What is meant by “British Values”?
We believe that the following list exemplifies some of the values held dear by British citizens:
Respect of the rule of law
Appreciation of the rights of other citizens
The promotion of opportunities for all
Support for those who cannot, by themselves, sustain a dignified life-style
Religious tolerance and respect for cultural diversity
Treating others with fairness
Participation in community life
The contribution to, as well as the benefit from, cultural and economic resources
Although this list is not exhaustive, we believe it encapsulates the values we promote in our school.