From September 2021, schools will have to teach Relationships and Health Education.
You can read about these changes in this DfE guide for parents here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools
Research shows that not delivering this vital education puts our children at greater risk of poor mental health. Current government Sex and Relationships Education guidance states that children should learn about puberty before they experience it, but clearly this isn’t happening in some schools – one of the reasons why making this subject statutory in all schools is so important.
We also know that RSE has a protective factor when it comes to safeguarding children. The best way to safeguard children is to ensure that they receive information on naming parts of their body, knowing the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch, and having the skills and confidence to find and talk to a trusted adult to report any abuse.
Research now shows that children with better health (including mental health) and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically. By learning about positive relationships, respect for themselves and others, and behaving appropriately and safely online, they are better able to enjoy their friendships and therefore have better focus at school. We recognise that parents play a vital part in their child’s RSE, and we encourage you to discuss these themes with your child at home as well.
We have worked hard to make sure that our new curriculum reflects:
• Our values of equality, inclusion and respect for all children and communities;
• Our children’s age and maturity levels, as well as their cultural and religious backgrounds;
• Every child’s learning needs; and
• What children need to know to be healthy and safe in school, in their personal relationships and in the wider world
Parent and Carer Consultation
At St Peter’s First School, we are committed to working in partnership with you and are holding a consultation period. As part of this, we would like you to take a look at the long-term plan, as well as the medium term plan and to read the Policy document. We would then like to invite you to complete the consultation document on the school website; we would really appreciate your comments and feedback. Click on the image below to access the survey:
At St Peter’s First School we use SCARF, a comprehensive scheme of work for PSHE and Wellbeing education. An overview of SCARF can be found in our appendices. It covers all of the DfE's statutory requirements for Relationships Education and Health Education, including non-statutory Sex Education, and the PSHE Association’s Programme of Study’s recommended learning opportunities, as well as contributing to different subject areas in the National Curriculum.
We follow the six suggested half-termly units and adapt the scheme of work where necessary to meet the local circumstances of our school, for example, we may use our local environment as the starting point for aspects of our work.
Lessons can be a weekly stand-alone PSHE lesson or be cross curricular. The lesson plans list the specific learning objectives for each lesson and provide support for how to teach the lessons; class teachers and our PSHE lead often discuss this on an informal basis.
We have chosen SCARF as our PSHE resource because the lessons build upon children’s prior learning; we have assessed the content and feel that it is relevant and sensitive to the needs of the children. There is planned progression across the SCARF scheme of work, so that children are increasingly and appropriately challenged as they move up through the school. Assessment is completed by the class teacher using the range of SCARF Assessment tools, to demonstrate progression of both skills and knowledge.
The SCARF programme divides the year into 6 themed units:
1. Me and My Relationships: includes content on feelings, emotions, conflict resolution and friendships;
2. Valuing Difference: a focus on respectful relationships and British values;
3. Keeping Myself Safe: looking at keeping ourselves healthy and safe
4. Rights and Responsibilities: learning about money, living the wider world and the environment;
5. Being My Best: developing skills in keeping healthy, developing a growth mindset (resilience), goal- setting and achievement;
6. Growing and Changing: finding out about the human body, the changes that take place from birth to old age and being safe.
Talking with your child about sensitive topics
When schools share with parents the content within SCARF, it is hoped this gives parents the confidence to start talking about, what may be seen by some, as the more sensitive, trickier topics with their children.
The introduction of statutory Relationships and Health Education has meant that at St Peter's, we have had to review our curriculum and consider whether it really is fit for purpose and meets children's needs. As part of this process, topics such as safeguarding children both online and offline, are being included. In response to current data about risk these topics are also being introduced earlier in the curriculum. These conversations then need to be covered at home, where children are likely to spend most of their online time.
We know that teaching children the correct words for different parts of their body helps them to report abuse, something we never want to have to think about, and hope our child will never need to report; nevertheless, this is something we need to consider.
The earlier we start to have conversations that seem tricky and awkward, the more practice we will have and the better we will be at answering children's questions and providing them with support when they reach their teenage years.
Here are links to more information to support you in talking with your child about their health and wellbeing, including healthy relationships.