On the 11th February, the Department for Education (DfE) released updated guidance about teaching personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. It is recommended that all schools should teach PSHE as part of their statutory national curriculum requirements.
Ahead of the new Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education statutory guidance due to come into effect this September, we’ve highlighted six key factors that schools should be aware of.
Replacing the Sex and Relationship Education guidance (2000), this new guidance is designed with the intention of giving pupils the knowledge required that will allow them to make informed choices when it comes to their health, wellbeing and relationships.
What you need to know
- Mandatory for all schools (except independent schools) from September 2020. This is the date when the new guidance is required to be implemented from, with a review three years from then and every three years after that point. This follows on from September 2019, when schools were encouraged to adopt the new curriculum early.
- Schools must have a written policy in place for Relationships Education and RSE. Not only that, but the policy must be reflective of their local community and be made available to parents and anybody else who requests it. The policy should also be published on the school's website.
- Parents must be consulted. This is largely applicable to the development of the school policy. However, parents should also be involved in planning and delivery and be kept up to date with what is to be taught in classes and when. Early engagement is key.
- Sex education is not compulsory for primary schools. Although, according to the guidance, many have already tailored their curriculum to include certain facets of the subject. It’s important to consider the ages of the children who are receiving the information related to sex education and understand that parents are fully within their rights when it comes to withdrawal.
- The right to withdraw. In the case of sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE, parents will have the right to request for their child to be withdrawn for a section or the entirety of the teaching, up to and until three terms before the child turns 16. Before any withdrawal, the head teacher should get involved in discussing the decision with parents and carers.
- Taking a whole school approach. Schools should strive to embed the subjects included in the guidance throughout other more wide-ranging topics. This can act as an additional takeaway for pupils, as they continue to build their foundations in preparation for life after school. If delivered in bulk or a short space of time, some of the subject matters could come across as overwhelming for certain pupils, hence the need for a more methodical approach.
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