As of September 2020, there will be three fresh subjects in place to aid schools with the process of preparing their pupils for life in the outside world. These are health education, relationships education and RSE.

Schools were encouraged to adopt the new curriculum early, from September 2019, to help integrate and embed PSHE and RSHE learning.

This new guidance, created by the Department for Education (DfE), was published to help school governors, headteachers and school staff understand their statutory requirements and outline what schools must comply with when teaching RSHE.

The guidance was also produced to help support PSHE and RSHE leads. But what is the role of the PSHE/RSHE lead? What are their responsibilities? And how crucial are they to effective implementation?

Allocation is key

Upon senior leaders reviewing the guidance, leadership allocation should take place to ensure the criteria listed within the policy is delivered effectively across the whole school. This should lead to senior leaders looking at the designation of RSHE subject leads, who will be tasked with conveying the messages documented in the guidance to pupils.

It would probably go without saying, but schools should look to appoint a teacher for the lead role who harnesses a passion and enthusiasm for RSHE education and has a desire for being responsible in delivering this.

Fundamental responsibilities

Whoever takes up the position of the PSHE or RSHE Lead must consider the multi-faceted nature of the role and its requirements. A key objective focuses on the constant improvement of supporting staff’s ability to deliver effective teaching across RSHE.

In addition, it’s important that the subject lead evaluates and considers the pupils’ needs when assessing the current teaching programme in relation to RSHE, so that the essential takeaways are being met. The role is inclusive of but may exceed the following specifications:

  • Staff have subject-specific training & regular updates.
  • Age-appropriate SRE meets pupils’ needs and contributes to safeguarding.
  • Timely and appropriate learning about RSHE/PSHE.
  • Monitoring of engagement in extra-curricular activities.
  • The raising of teachers’ expectations of work quality in PSHE.

Delivery of RSHE and empowering staff members

There isn’t a set rule about how effective RSHE education should be provided to pupils. However, past evidence does point to regular timetabled lessons being a stand-out success, when presented and taught by confident, competent teachers. Ensuring this takes place will form part of a RSHE subject lead’s role in school.

The RSHE subject lead may want to form a dedicated team who are all aligned with their views in how pupils should develop their learning of the varying topics. The creation of this team would eliminate any conjecture with regards to how the policy should be delivered and help for a more streamlined approach.

Engaging with parents

Good leadership requires a significant amount of listening, which is why it’s important that parents, carers, trusted adults and pupils are listened to from the outset, so that the strategy and implementation around RSHE can be formulated accordingly is designed to be inclusive.

It’s the responsibility of the designated PSHE/RSHE lead to steer these discussions, draw up terms of reference, encourage and support engagement and feed their findings back to school leaders and their subject teams.

Once these consultations have taken place, it’s important that the PSHE/RSHE leads are the focal point of contact for parents and carers and maintain an open dialogue to help allay and address any fears or concerns that they may have.

You can learn more about the role of a Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) Subject Lead by viewing our webinar here

Alternatively, become a PSHE & RSHE Topic Member and receive unlimited access to our full range of webinars in relation to the new RSHE curriculum and changes due from September 2020. Click here to find out more.