Relationship & Sex Education

Relationship & Sex Education (RSE)

From September 2020, relationships and sex education will become statutory in all secondary schools in England. Relationships education will become statutory in all primary schools in England. In line with government guidance, it is recommend that age-appropriate sex education is also taught in all primary schools.

Effective sex and relationship education is essential if young people are to make responsible and well informed decisions about their lives. It should not be delivered in isolation but firmly rooted within the framework for PSHE and the new Statutory guidance - Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) and relationships and sex education (RSE).

The objective of sex and relationship education is to help and support young people through their physical, emotional and moral development. A successful programme, firmly embedded in PSHE, will help young people learn to respect themselves and others and move with confidence from childhood through adolescence into adulthood.

The new PSHE framework will help pupils develop the skills and understanding they need to live confident, healthy and independent lives. It will play an important role, alongside other aspects of the curriculum and school life, in helping pupils deal with difficult moral and social questions. As part of sex and relationship education, pupils should be taught about the nature and importance of marriage for family life and bringing up children. But to also recognise – that there are strong and mutually supportive relationships outside marriage. Therefore pupils should learn the significance of marriage and stable relationships as key building blocks of community and society. Care needs to be taken to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances.

Pupils need also to be given accurate information and helped to develop skills to enable them to understand difference and respect themselves and others and for the purpose also of preventing and removing prejudice. Secondary pupils should learn to understand human sexuality, learn the reasons for delaying sexual activity and the benefits to be gained from such delay, and learn about obtaining appropriate advice on sexual health.

Sex and relationship education should contribute to promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and of society and preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Effective sex and relationship education 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, to build up their confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. It builds up knowledge and skills which are particularly important today because of the many different and conflicting pressures on young people.

Sex and relationship education is lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of marriage for family life, 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 – this would be inappropriate teaching.

It has three main elements:

● Attitudes and Values
– learning the importance of values and individual conscience and moral considerations;
– learning the value of family life, marriage, and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children;
– learning the value of respect, love and care;
– exploring, considering and understanding moral dilemmas; and
– developing critical thinking as part of decision-making.

● Personal and Social Skills
– learning to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively;
– developing self-respect and empathy for others;
– learning to make choices based on an understanding of difference and with an absence of prejudice;
– developing an appreciation of the consequences of choices made;
– managing conflict; and
– learning how to recognise and avoid exploitation and abuse.

● Knowledge and Understanding
– learning and understanding physical development at appropriate stages;
– understanding human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships;
– learning about contraception and the range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services;
– learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity, and the benefits to be gained from such delay; and
– the avoidance of unplanned pregnancy.

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