Relationships Education Policy

Introduction

This policy is written following the statutory guidance from the Department for Education regarding Relationships and Sex Education (September 2020). The policy outlines how we comply with the teaching and learning of Relationships Education at New York Primary School.


Rationale

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the teaching of Relationships Education at New York Primary School equips and educates pupils in making informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships. We want our pupils to be confident and resilient young people who know how to stay physically and mentally well, stay safe and know where to get help, guidance and support.

At New York we believe that the teaching of Relationships Education should be shared with parents to ensure a consistent and supportive approach to pupil education. Through education we promote an understanding of the range of family types and other people who contribute to providing the love and care children need to grow and develop into well informed educated citizens.

At New York Primary school we understand the importance of family life and stable and loving relationships. We educate our pupils to value difference, show respect, possess self-esteem and to be able to love and care for ourselves and others, promoting British Values.


Aims

The aims of this policy in our school are to:

  • provide a framework to educate with age appropriate content
  • provide an environment where sensitive discussion can take place
  • support pupils in developing feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy
  • foster wellbeing, resilience and character development
  • teach correct vocabulary relating to the content
  • prepare for puberty (UKS2)
  • create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationship
  • promote an understanding of the law as it applies to this subject.
  • working with parents and the wider community including health professionals to support pupil learning

We ensure that children are able to develop a healthy attitude towards health and relationships by providing information and opportunities for discussion in appropriate contexts and at suitable times throughout the child’s primary school life.


Curriculum

Relationships Education is about the emotional, social and cultural development of pupils and it involves learning about relationships, healthy lifestyles, diversity and personal identity. This area of our school curriculum has been consulted with parents, pupils and staff and considers age and belief of individuals.

Although sex education is not compulsory in primary schools, the Governors and leaders at New York recognise the importance of including this area for our upper key stage 2 pupils. We do this in consultation with and permission from parents.

The areas covered in the sex education element of the curriculum includes:

  • Preparing pupils for adolescence and the changes in brings
  • How a baby is conceived and born

Parents and carers have the right to withdraw their child from the non-compulsory sex education by contacting and speaking with the Headteacher.

Many of the areas within Relationships and Sex Education are covered across other areas of the curriculum including science, PE, RE and PSHE.

In the science programme of the national curriculum the human reproduction aspects of sex education will to be taught to year 5 and year 6 children as part of the school’s science curriculum.

In year 5 pupils are taught about the changes as humans develop into old age. This includes reproduction and puberty. This covers how the body works and the functions of various parts of it.

Across the curriculum we focus upon the characteristics and importance of positive relationships in

the context of family life:

  • Relationships.
    • Families and people who care for me
    • Caring friendships
    • respectful relationships
    • Online relationship and being safe online
  • Health, hygiene and safety.
  • Physical change and development.

We think it is important that the school and home work together, and that all adults concerned respond to the changing needs and experience of the children.

The development of self-esteem, assertiveness and personal safety skills are crucial. Our PSHE programme includes care for others, skill in communication, decision making, citizenship and responsibility awareness. We believe children who are well-informed, confident and positive are likely to learn effectively and feel secure.

Children are taught about safeguarding matters appropriate to their age.

New York staff are aware that effective relationship education may lead to disclosure of a child protection issue and will rely on the school’s child protection policy to handle any such matter as confidentially as possible

All aspects of the science curriculum relating to REd are statutory. This includes:

KS1

  • That animals and humans grow and reproduce
  • To recognise and name the main external parts of the body
  • To recognise similarities and differences between themselves and others
  • That humans produce offspring and these grow into adults

KS2

  • The life processes common to humans including growth and reproduction
  • The main stages of the life cycle (including puberty)

The responsibility of the Governing Body

The governing body has delegated the approval of this policy to the Safeguarding sub committee. The governing body holds the Headteacher to account for effective and consistent implementation of this policy.


The Headteacher

The Headteacher is responsible for ensuring that RE is taught consistently and effectively across the school and for managing requests to withdraw pupils from non-statutory components.

The Headteacher also:

  • Ensures that members of staff are given sufficient training, so that they can teach effectively and handle any sensitive issues appropriately
  • Monitors this policy on a regular basis and reports to governors on the effectiveness of the policy
  • Ensures that parents are consulted with any RE policy changes and are given time to consider the delivery of sex education to upper key stage 2.

Staff

All staff are responsible for:

  • Delivering REd in a sensitive way appropriate to their pupil age range
  • Modelling positive attitudes to REd
  • Responding to the needs of individual pupils
  • Responding appropriately to pupils whose parents wish them to be withdrawn from the non-statutory components of REd
  • Monitoring progress
  • Class teachers are responsible for teaching REd at New York Primary School.

Teachers will reply to and answer children’s questions sensitively and openly. They will ensure that balanced information is provided which will take into account the different faiths’ views and avoid any negative impressions. Teachers will need to answer questions that may arise as well as those that may be asked at other times. All questions will be handled sensitively and set within a general context. Consideration should be given to religious or cultural factors, and to parents’ wishes before questions are answered particularly relating to sex education.


Pupils

Pupils are expected to engage fully in REd and, when discussing issues related to RE, treat others with respect and sensitivity.


Parents

The school is well aware that the primary role in children’s REd lies with parents and carers. We build positive and supporting relationships with the parents and families of children at our school through mutual understanding, trust and co-operation. In promoting this objective we:

  • Will carry out our statutory duty to consult with parents and governors on the contents of this policy
  • Inform parents about the school’s REd policy and practice; this includes informing parents by letter or email before beginning to teach a unit of REd
  • Answer any questions that parents may have about the REd of their child; this includes providing opportunities for parents to view the resources that are used in lessons
  • Take seriously any issue that parents raise with teachers or governors about this policy or the arrangements for REd in school
  • Acknowledge parents have the right to withdraw their children from the non-statutory components of sex education. However, this rarely happens as, by working in partnership with parents, they recognise the importance of this aspect of their child’s education and trust school staff to educate their child appropriately
  • Keep a register of any pupils who are removed from lessons and distributed to all teachers involved

Reviewing

The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the school. We are committed to keeping this policy under review and assess its implementation and effectiveness in the light of any changes to the national curriculum or to legislation. The views of staff, parents and children are taken into account whenever changes are introduced.


Equality

At New York we have carefully considered and analysed the impact of this policy on equality and the possible implications for all pupils. Under the Equality Act 2010 we have a duty not to discriminate against people on the basis of their age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief and other protected characteristics.

As part of our commitment to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requirement we have due regard of the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. This policy has been equality impact assessed and we believe that it is fair, does not prioritise or disadvantage any pupil and it helps to promote equality at New York Primary School.


Statutory Requirement

As a maintained primary school, we must provide relationships education to all pupils as per section 34 of the Children and Social work act 2017.

This policy has been written in accordance with the statutory guidance document “Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education” (DfE, 2019).

Department for Education guidance states that by the summer term 2021, all primary schools must teach Relationships and Health Education. The teaching of Sex Education in primary schools remains non-statutory, with the exception of the elements of sex education contained in the science national curriculum: including knowledge of the main external body parts; the changes as humans develop to old age and reproduction in some plants and animals. Other related topics that fall within the statutory requirements for Health Education, such as puberty and menstrual wellbeing, will be included within PSHE education lessons.

Within the statutory guidance document for RSE and Health Education, the DfE also encourages

schools to deliver age-appropriate sex education if they feel their pupils need this information:

“It will be for primary schools to determine whether they need to cover any additional content on sex education to meet the needs of their pupils. Many primary schools already choose to teach some aspects of sex education and will continue to do so, although it is not a requirement…

“It is important that the transition phase before moving to secondary school supports pupils’ ongoing emotional and physical development effectively. The Department continues to recommend therefore that all primary schools should have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. It should ensure that both boys and girls are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and – drawing on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science – how a baby is conceived and born.”

Should you like to see the guidance from the government please visit:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/805781/Relationships_Education__Relationships_and_Sex_Education__RSE__and_Health_Education.pdf


Statutory REd Curriculum Content

Our RSE curriculum is embedded within our PSHE curriculum. We have developed the curriculum taking into account the age, needs and feelings of our pupils. If pupils ask questions outside the scope of this policy, teachers will respond in an age appropriate manner so they are fully informed and do not seek the answers online.

The key objectives of the Statutory REd curriculum are outlined below:

Families and people who care for me

Children should know:

  • That families are important for children growing up because they can give love, security and stability.
  • The characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for children and other family members, the importance of spending time together and sharing each other’s lives.
  • That others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.
  • That stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types, are at the heart of happy families, and are important for children’s security as they grow up.
  • That marriage represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.
  • How to recognise if family relationships are making them feel unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed.

Caring friendships

Children should know:

  • How important friendships are in making us feel happy and secure, and how people choose and make friends.
  • The characteristics of friendships, including mutual respect, truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, trust, sharing interests and experiences and support with problems and difficulties.
  • That healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded.
  • That most friendships have ups and downs, and that these can often be worked through so that the friendship is repaired or even strengthened, and that resorting to physically or verbally aggressive behaviour is never right.
  • How to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable, managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to seek help or advice from others, if needed.

Respectful relationships

Children should know:

  • The importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs.
  • Practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships.
  • The conventions of courtesy and manners.
  • The importance of self-respect and how this links to their own happiness.
  • That in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including those in positions of authority.
  • about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help.
  • What a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive.
  • The importance of permission-seeking and granting in relationships with friends, peers and adults.

Online relationships

Children should know:

  • That people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not.
  • That the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-to-face relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous.
  • The rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them.
  • How to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met.
  • How information and data is shared and used online.

Being safe

Children should know:

  • What sorts of boundaries are appropriate in friendships with peers and others (including in a digital context).
  • About the concept of privacy and the implications of it for both children and adults; including that it is not always right to keep secrets if they relate to being safe.
  • That each person’s body belongs to them, and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact.
  • How to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not know.
  • How to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe or feeling bad about any adult and others.
  • How to ask for advice or help for themselves or others, and to keep trying until they are heard.
  • How to report concerns or abuse, and the vocabulary and confidence needed to do so.
  • Where to get advice e.g. family, school and/or other sources.

These areas of learning are taught within the context of family life, taking care to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances (families can include single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents/carers amongst other structures) along with reflecting sensitively that some children may have a different structure of support around them (for example: looked after children or young carers).


REd through other subjects

SRE will also be covered in other subjects especially RE. This will mainly take the focus of dealing with emotions and building healthy relationships.


Discrete REd lessons

Parents are informed before puberty talks. A teacher is present to enable them to carry out follow up work and answer any questions.


Non Statutory Sex Education

As part of statutory Health Education, children are taught in an age appropriate way about puberty and the associated physical and emotional changes from Year 4 onwards. As part of the science curriculum, children learn in Year 2 that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults. In Year 5, they describe the changes as humans develop to old age and about how reproduction occurs in some plants and animals.

Alongside this, children in Year 4 are taught to recognise the signs and changes that may occur during the onset of puberty, in preparation for further lessons on this subject which also focus on emotional changes and menstruation in Year 4. These lessons form part of the statutory requirements for Health Education.

The DfE guidance 2019 also recommends that all primary schools have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of pupils, and this should include how a baby is conceived and born. Although sex education is not compulsory in primary schools, we believe children should understand the facts about human reproduction before they leave primary school. We therefore provide some non-statutory sex education, covering how human reproduction and conception occurs. This is taught in Years 4, 5 and 6. Children are taught:

  • that for a baby to begin to grow, part comes from a mother and part comes from a father; that in most animals including humans the baby grows inside the mother
  • that when a sperm and egg meet, this is called conception; that conception usually occurs as a result of sexual intercourse, and what sexual intercourse means
  • how a baby develops in the womb and how babies are born
  • We believe that teaching this additional content to pupils will ensure that they are better prepared for transition to secondary school and also support their personal and social development as they grow into young adults. As is legally prescribed, parents have a right to withdraw their children from these additional non-statutory sex education lessons – please see the relevant section within this policy in regard to this process.

The resources we use when teaching the non-statutory sex education units are available for parents/carers to view on request to the PHSE Co-ordinator.


Year 5 and 6

School staff will also speak to girls about starting their periods and what to do if this happens at school. Staff will encourage girls to be open and honest. A supply of sanitary protection will be available in girls’ toilets and all KS2 staff will also have a supply. A sanitary bin is provided in one of the cubicles in the key stage 2 toilets. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions or offer advice. Reminder of the worry box as a way of asking questions they cannot ask face to face.


Organisation

Our Relationships and Sex Education programme will be delivered in an age appropriate and sensitive manner by class teachers, the Learning Mentor or PSHE Coordinator. Teaching is normally taught in mixed gender groups, though some content is covered in single sex groups e.g. menstrual hygiene, single sex question sessions, etc.

We aim to provide a learning atmosphere where children feel safe and relaxed, and where they feel confident to engage in discussions around potentially sensitive subjects and themes.

Ground rules in class and across the school are essential when discussing sensitive subject matter and teaching RSE. Clear ground rules are established in partnership with the class, then reinforced at the start of each relevant lesson. As a minimum, ground rules are likely to include the following basic guidelines:

  • Listen politely to each other
  • Everyone gets a turn to speak, if they want to
  • Everyone has a right not to speak
  • Everyone’s contribution is respected
  • We don’t ask or have to answer any personal questions
  • We use anatomically correct language when we have learnt it

Delivery methods will be adjusted should the need for remote learning continue or extend.


Questions

  • All questions will be answered within the following framework
  • Worry/Query boxes may be used within SRE lessons and be available for all pupils to use at any time
  • Correct and appropriate terminology will be used
  • It is inappropriate for both teachers and children to answer personal questions
  • Staff are encouraged to answer all questions related to the agreed scheme of work, but will use their professional judgement to decide whether an appropriate response should be given to the whole class, one to one, referred home or dealt with by the SRE co-ordinator
  • Staff will give factual information and not personal views
  • In support of equal opportunities staff will challenge discrimination and stereotyping
  • Staff will support children to understand that people hold different points of view and that there is not always one clear and correct answer

Entitlement

All children are entitled to an SRE programme that is part of an integrated programme of health education.


Working with parents

The school is aware that the primary role of children’s sex and relationship education lies with the parents and cares. As stated in the 1993 education act, pupils can be withdrawn from any part of SRE that is outside the statutory element of SRE contained in the science national curriculum.

Parents are informed by letter about puberty and SRE talks that are taking place with the school nurse. Parents wishing to exercise this right are asked to talk to the Headteacher to explore concerns and discuss the impact that a withdrawal may have upon a child.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the sex education part of the PSHE programme and alternative arrangements will be made for their children’s supervision. The request to withdraw must be made in writing to the Headteacher. However, parents do not have the right to withdraw their children from the biological aspects of human growth and reproduction necessary under national curriculum science. Parents or carers who choose to withdraw their children will be informed of sex education lessons in advance, and are welcome to borrow the resources used by the school (typically DVDs and worksheets).


Confidentiality

Confidentiality will be maintained by unless a child is at risk or in danger. If a member of staff believes a child is at risk or in danger they must talk to the Headteacher or designated child protection officer before a decision is made.

If there is to be a breach in confidentiality, the child concerned will be informed that confidentiality is being breached and the reason why. The child will be supported by the staff throughout the process.


Child protection

All staff will adhere to the child protection policy if they believe a child is at risk or in danger.


Special Educational Needs

Pupils with special educational needs at New York Primary School will be given the opportunity to fully participate in RSE lessons, and a differentiated program will be provided where necessary, to ensure that all pupils gain a full understanding.


Equal Opportunities

New York Primary school is committed to equality in all aspects of school life.


Dissemination of the policy

A copy of the policy is made available to all parents and members of staff.


The School Environment

The school will ensure that the whole school environment reflects the values of respect for themselves and others. It will:

  • Ensure that posters and displays use positive images and celebrate difference and diversity.
  • Use anonymous question boxes or similar items enabling children to have questions and concerns answered privately where needed.
  • Ensure that communication between staff and pupils is welcomed and encouraged, and children know how to access members of staff.
  • Provide provisions for pubertal girls, including sanitary ware and free sanitary towels.
  • Ensure that discriminatory behaviour is always challenged in any context.

Monitoring and evaluating

The SRE policy will be subject to monitoring and evaluation by the PSHE co-ordinator to ensure effectiveness and progression. This may take the form of:

  • Talking to staff
  • Talking to children
  • Talking to parents
  • Reviewing any new guidance

Links with other policies

SRE has links with the whole school curriculum through the skills, knowledge and understanding that are being developed. Our school aims and some policies have direct links with SRE.

  • Teaching and learning policy
  • PSHE and citizen policy
  • Anti-bullying policy
  • Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco education policy
  • Science policy
  • RE policy
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Child protection policy

Further Guidance

  • Sex and relationship guidance - department for children, schools and families - 2000
  • Healthy schools guidance – see healthy schools website
  • Sex Education Forum, Sex and Relationships Education Framework (London: Sex Education Forum, 2005)
  • DCSF(2008) Governments response to the report by Sex and relationships Education(SRE)Review steering group. Nottingham:DCSF publications
  • Fisher, J., McTaggart, J. (2008) Review of sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools: A report by the External Steering Group. Available at: http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/13030/SRE%20final.pdf (Accessed 2nd January 2009)