The World Health Organisation defines Sexual Health as, “A state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”
This policy has been developed in response to Relationships and Sex Education Guidance (DFES, 2000), the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (DFES, 1999), the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV (Dept. of Health, 2001) and the Healthy Schools Standards.
2. The consultation process has involved:
· Staff and students via annual review of RSE curriculum content
· Pastoral staff
· Student Voice
· Parent Council
· Other professionals e.g. school nurse, youth worker, counsellor, Brook
· School governors
- What Is Relationships and Sex Education?
SRE is lifelong learning about physical, sexual, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality and sexual health. It is not about the promotion of sexual orientation or sexual activity. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes. Relationships and Sex Education should support parents in talking to their children about relationships and sex and enable them to link their conversations with what is being taught in school.
The aims of our RSE programme are to provide balanced, factual information about human reproduction, together with consideration of the broader emotional, ethical, religious, and moral dimensions of sexual health and to challenge myths, misconceptions and false assumptions about normal behaviour.
Relationships and Sex Education should contribute to promoting the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, emotional and physical development of students, preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of an adult life in which they can:
- develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgements and behaviour;
- have the confidence and self esteem to value themselves and others, respect for individual conscience and the skills to judge what kind of relationship they want;
- understand the consequences of their actions and behave responsibly within sexual and pastoral relationships;
- avoid being exploited or exploiting others or being pressured into unwanted or unprotected sex;
- communicate effectively by developing appropriate terminology for sex and relationship issues;
- develop awareness of their sexuality and understand human sexuality;
- challenge sexism and prejudice, and promote equality and diversity; and
- protect themselves and others from unplanned conceptions, sexually transmitted infections, abuse and exploitation.
- Principles and Values
In addition, Ridgeway High School believes that RSE should:
- be an integral part of the lifelong learning process, beginning in early childhood and continuing into adult life, reflecting the age of the learner;
- be accurate and factual;
- be relevant and meet the needs of children and young people, actively involving them as participants and evaluators in developing good quality provision;
- be delivered by confident and competent educators;
- be an entitlement for all young people and be positively inclusive in terms of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, culture, age, religion or belief;
- teach about relationships, love and care and the responsibilities of parenthood, as well as sex;
- build self-esteem;
- help young people to develop confidence in talking and thinking about relationships and sex;
- encourage young people to reflect on and evaluate their learning;
- be taught within a safe learning environment where questions and discussion on sexual matters can take place without any stigma or embarrassment and where prejudice, discrimination and bullying are unacceptable;
- teach the taking on of responsibility and the consequences of one’s actions in relation to sexual activity and parenthood;
- promote a critical awareness of different attitudes towards relationships and sex within society, such as peer norms and those portrayed in the media;
- provide young people with information about different types of contraception, safe sex and how they can access local sources of further advice and treatment within the boundaries of safeguarding;
- give young people a clear understanding of the arguments for delaying sexual activity and resisting pressure;
- link Relationships and Sex Education with issues of peer pressure and other risk-taking behaviour such as drugs, smoking and alcohol;
- ensure young people understand how the law applies to sexual relationships and sexual behaviours;
- recognise the key role of parents and carers in teaching their children about sex, relationships and growing up; and
- recognise that importance of support and advice from the wider community such as health professionals, social workers, peer educators and other advisers.
Relationships & Sex Education at Ridgeway High School has three main elements:
- Attitudes and Values
- be aware of their sexuality and understand human sexuality;
- understand the arguments for delaying sexual activity;
- learn the value of family life, stable and loving relationships, and marriage;
- learn the value of respect, love and care;
- learn about the nurture of children;
- explore, consider and understand moral dilemmas; and
- develop critical thinking as part of decision-making.
- Personal and Social Skills
- learn to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively;
- develop self-respect and empathy for others;
- be able to communicate effectively using appropriate terminology;
- learn to make choices with an absence of prejudice;
- develop an appreciation of the consequences of choices made;
- manage conflict; and
- develop the skills to be able to avoid inappropriate pressures or advances (both as the exploited or the exploiter).
- Knowledge and Understanding
- understand physical development at different stages;
- understand human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships;
- know how the law applies to sexual relationships and sexual behaviours;
- learn about contraception and the range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services;
- understand the arguments for delaying sexual activity, and the benefits to be gained from such delay;
- understand the reasons for having protected sex; and
- have sufficient information and skills to protect themselves and, where they have one, their partner from unintended/unwanted conceptions and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
- Organisation and Content of the Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum
6.1 Relationships and Sex Education in the Curriculum
Relationships and Sex Education is taught through the Learning for Life part of the school’s curriculum, in addition to the National Science Curriculum topics, in all year groups. (See breakdown of content by Key Stage – Section 6.4) There will be a Relationships and Sex Education focus for one half term per year in Learning for Life.
Learning for Life in Key Stage 3 is delivered by Ms Pelter (Head of Learning for Life) and Ms Marrion (Assistant Headteacher) with support from health professionals, where appropriate. In Key Stage 4, RSE is taught by Ms Pelter and other members of a dedicated team of Learning for Life teachers. Having a team to specifically teach RSE ensures that appropriate training can be given and that teachers are confident in the delivery of this subject. RSE lessons focus more on the emotional aspects of development and relationships, although the physical aspects of puberty, reproduction and sexual relationships are also included.
The Science National Curriculum is delivered by staff in the Science department. These lessons are more concerned with the physical aspects of development and reproduction, although the importance of relationships is not forgotten.
6.2 Dealing with questions
Any RSE lesson may consider questions or issues that some students will find sensitive. Before embarking on these lessons, ground rules are established which prohibit inappropriate personal information being requested or disclosed by those taking part in the lesson. When students ask questions, we aim to answer them honestly, within the ground rules established at the start of the sessions. When it is felt that answering a specific question would involve information at a level inappropriate to the development of the rest of the students, the question may be dealt with individually at another time.
Assessment is carried out at the end of every module and involves teacher, pupil and peer assessment of knowledge and understanding, interpersonal skills, and attitudes.
6.4 Relationships and Sex Education by Key Stage
|Learning for Life||Science|
|Key Stage 3||· types of relationship· love, attraction and infatuation
· puberty – physical and emotional changes, including menstruation
· positive sexual relationships
· conception, pregnancy and birth
· the laws regarding sex and sexual behaviours
· delaying sexual activity
· resisting pressure / exploitation
· preventing pregnancy
· sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS (prevention, diagnosis and treatment)
· risk taking behaviour
· pornography and sexting
· the effects of drugs and alcohol on behaviour in relation to sex
|· physical and emotional changes that take place during adolescence· the human reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertilisation
· how the foetus develops in the uterus
· how the growth and reproduction of bacteria and the replication of viruses can affect health
|Key Stage 4||· positive relationships, including same sex relationships· abusive relationships
· avoiding sexual exploitation
· making informed personal choices
· sexuality and sexual orientation
· the laws regarding sex and sexual behaviours
· delaying sexual activity
· risk taking behaviour
· the effects of drugs and alcohol on behaviour in relation to sex
· dealing with unplanned/unwanted conceptions, including abortion
· teenage pregnancy and parenthood
|· the way in which hormonal control occurs, including the effects of sex hormones· some medical use of hormones, including the control and promotion of fertility
· the defence mechanisms of the body
· how sex is determined in humans
6.5 Additional Provision
6.5.1 Health Day
In addition to the Learning for Life curriculum, the school aims to provide an annual Health Day in which aspects of RSE are covered by health professionals. These include:
- School nurses: puberty, personal hygiene, contraception
- BiteSize Brook (Brook, Response and the Youth Offending Service): contraception, sexually transmitted infections, risk-taking behaviour, drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexting.
Parents and carers are informed of these by letter and have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the programme. Further information can be found at www.workitoutatbrook.org.uk.
6.5.2 Brook course: All Different, All Beautiful
Some students are also invited to attend this course run by Brook Education Workers at the school.
This is a five day programme in which students aim to improve self-esteem and confidence, learning about topics such as difference and diversity, stereotyping, body image, pressures and risks. This course leads to an Open College Network qualification in Interpersonal Skills. Further information can be found at www.workitoutatbrook.org.uk.
SRE-related assemblies scheduled in the school calendar currently include:
- Puberty – physical and emotional changes and personal hygiene. Delivered by the school nurse (Year 7)
- Homophobic bullying (all year groups)
7.1 Ethnic and Cultural Groups
We intend our policy to be sensitive to the needs of different ethnic groups and recognise that, for some young people from minority ethnic communities, school may be the only source of relationships and sex education. For some young people, it is not culturally appropriate for them to be taught particular aspects of RSE in mixed groups. We will consult with parents and carers and respond to requests and concerns.
7.2 Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
We will ensure that all young people receive Relationships and Sex Education appropriate to their particular needs, taking specialist advice where necessary, to help them understand their physical and emotional development and enable them to make positive decisions. The school nurse, Sister Sarah Broadbent, will provide additional individual sessions for students with SEND, if necessary. Members of the Learning Support team have received training in delivering aspects of RSE and may support individual students. We will work with support staff, parents, carers and health professionals to ensure a collaborative approach to Relationships and Sex Education.
We will help SEND students to develop skills to reduce the risk of being abused and exploited and to learn what sorts of behaviour are, and are not, acceptable.
7.3 Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation
We aim to deal sensitively and honestly with issues of sexual orientation, answer appropriate questions and offer support. Young people, whatever their developing sexuality, need to feel that Relationships and Sex Education is relevant to them. Sources of further support regarding sexuality and sexual orientation will be signposted. There will be no direct promotion of sexual orientation. Any incidents of homophobic bullying will be reported and dealt with according to the school’s Bullying Policy.
- Right of Withdrawal of Students from Relationships and Sex Education
Some parents prefer to take the responsibility for aspects of this element of education. They have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the Relationships and Sex Education curriculum, except for those parts included in the statutory National Curriculum (i.e. in Science lessons). We would make alternative arrangements in such cases. Parents are encouraged to discuss their decisions with staff at the earliest opportunity. Parents are welcome to review any RSE resources the school uses.
9.1 Teachers/School support staff
Teachers and support staff cannot offer unconditional confidentiality. At Ridgeway High School, teachers are bound to inform the school’s Senior Designated Person for Safeguarding (Ms Sarah Long) of any disclosure.
In a case where a teacher learns from a student under 16 that they are having or are contemplating sexual intercourse, this will be referred to the Senior Designated Person for Safeguarding, as per the Safeguarding policy.
In such cases:
- the young person will be persuaded, wherever possible, to talk to parent/carer and, if necessary, to seek medical advice
- child protection issues will be considered and referred, if necessary, to Social Care
- the young person will be properly counselled about contraception, including precise information about where young people can access contraception and advice services
All teachers and support staff are informed of the school’s Confidentiality Policy and will seek to protect privacy and prevent inappropriate personal disclosures in a classroom setting by negotiating ground rules and using distancing techniques. They will signpost students to sources of confidential help, for example, the school nurse, counsellor, their GP or advice services such as Brook and Response.
9.2 Other health professionals working within the school setting
Health professionals who are involved in delivering programmes are expected to work within the school’s RSE policy and on the instructions of the Headteacher. However, when they are in their professional role, such as a school nurse in consultation with an individual student, they will follow their own professional codes of conduct.
The school nurse (Sister Sarah Broadbent), youth worker, counsellor and representatives from Brook and Response who work within the school as part of Health Services in Schools (see Section 10) offer an enhanced level of confidentiality to individuals. They will only break confidentiality if they believe that a young person is “at serious risk of significant harm”.
All advice given will be impartial and in the best interests of the young person.
9.3 Breaking Confidentiality
In any case where Child Protection procedures are followed the teacher, support worker or health professional will ensure that the young person understands that if confidentiality has to be broken, they will be informed first.
- Health Services In Schools
Outside the teaching situation, health professionals such as the school nurse, youth worker, counsellor and other health professionals can:
- give one-to-one advice or information to a young person on any health-related matter, including contraception and all aspects of sexual health, and signpost other agencies that can offer targeted support
- exercise their own professional judgement as to whether a young person has the maturity to consent to medical treatment, including contraceptive treatment, on a completely confidential basis (The criteria for making a decision about the competency of the young person are based on the “Fraser Guidelines”.)
- promote the use of condoms
- provide contraceptive services, including emergency hormone contraception
- offer testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea
- Controversial and Sensitive Issues
11.1 Beliefs and attitudes
Personal beliefs and attitudes of teachers will not influence the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education within the PSHE framework. Teachers, and all those contributing to RSE, will work within the agreed framework of the school’s policy and training will be provided, where necessary, to ensure the programme is delivered sensitively and effectively.
11.2 Safety and welfare of students
Teachers have a responsibility to ensure the welfare and safety of students and are in a particular position of trust. Sexual relationships involving children under 16 years of age are a criminal offence. A sexual relationship between a teacher and any student under 18 years of age at the same school is an abuse of that trust and is also a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Such behaviour would constitute gross misconduct on the part of the teacher and would result in disciplinary action and, most often, dismissal. It may also lead to the teacher being prohibited from working in the education service by the Secretary of State.
Rates of teenage conception are still unacceptably high, both locally and nationally. Knowledge of different types of contraception, access to and availability of contraception is a major part of the Government’s strategy to reduce teenage pregnancy. Learning for Life staff may give students information about contraception, individually or as a class. The religious convictions of students and their parents will be respected.
There are strongly held views and religious beliefs about abortion. When discussing abortion, students will be encouraged to consider the moral and personal dilemmas involved. The religious convictions of students and their parents will be respected.
11.5 Safer Sex, Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
Teaching about safer sex remains one of the Government’s key strategies for reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS and STIs (National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV, Dept. of Health, 2001). In 2011, 6,280 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK.
STIs are a major cause of ill-health which can have long-term physical and psychological health consequences. Incidence of STIs, particularly chlamydia and gonorrhoea, continue to rise. Although the emphasis of RSE is on prevention of infection, students need to know about diagnosis and treatment.
- Monitoring and Evaluation of Sex and Relationship Education
It is the responsibility of the Head of Learning for Life to oversee and organise the monitoring and evaluation of PSHE, in the context of the overall school protocols for monitoring the quality of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning will be monitored through lesson observations and work will be scrutinised under the school’s work scrutiny procedures. The Head of Learning for Life, in collaboration with team members, will produce a Faculty Development Plan outlining key areas for improvement, which will be reviewed at least 3 times per year and presented to the Senior Leadership Team. This information will be provided to the governing body.
The Governors’ Curriculum and Pastoral Committee is responsible for overseeing, reviewing and organising the revision of the Relationships and Sex Education Policy.
The named governor for overseeing Learning for Life is Mrs Jacqui Kearney.
Ofsted is required to evaluate and report on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students. This includes evaluating and commenting on the school’s Relationships and Sex Education policy, staff development, training and delivery.
- External Agencies
The following external agencies are invited into school at appropriate times to work with students to enhance their learning in Relationships and Sex Education:
- Brook (Advisory Service)
- Response (Wirral Youth Service Drugs and Alcohol workers)
- Youth Offending Service (YOS)
- Star Project (Teenage Mums)
- School Nurse Team (Wirral)
- Sahir House (HIV/AIDS charity)
All external providers will comply with the Visitors to School Policy.
All teaching materials used will be in accordance with the PSHE Framework and the law. Inappropriate images will not be used, nor will explicit material not related to explanation. All materials will be age appropriate and will take into account the cultural background of the students.
Parents and carers may request to see any of the materials used in the teaching of RSE. They may contact the Headteacher with any concerns about the materials used who will share these concerns with governors.
In addition to teacher-prepared materials, the following published resources are used to enhance the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education.
|Relationships||Folens PSHE copiable worksheets (Personal Relationships)|
|Abusive relationships||Face Up (Ariel Trust)Film: Spiralling (Safer Bristol)
|Puberty||BoardworksFolens PSHE copiable worksheets (Sex Education)|
|Reproduction||BoardworksFolens PSHE copiable worksheets (Sex Education)
Video clip: Reproduction (Scientific Eye for Channel 4)
|Sexually Transmitted Infections||NHS Choices|
|Contraception||Folens PSHE copiable worksheets (Sex Education)Folens “Citizenship and PSHE” teacher resource file|
|Teenage pregnancy and parenthood||Video clips: Underage and Pregnant (BBC)Virtual babies (NHS Resource Centre)|
|The effects of drugs and alcohol on risk taking behaviour||Folens PSHE copiable worksheets (Drugs / Alcohol)Drunk in charge of a body II (Brook)|
|Pornography and sexting||Mixed Messages (NHS Wirral / Wirral MBC)|
|Sexual exploitation||My Dangerous Loverboy (Eyes Open Creative)|
- Related policies
Other policies that should be read in conjunction with this policy:
- Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy
- Confidentiality procedures
- Drugs Education procedures
- Visitors to School procedures
- Disciplinary Policy
Policy developed by Miss S Pelter in conjunction with staff, students, parents, governors and other health professionals.