Relationships and Sex Education
From September 2020, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) became statutory in all Secondary Schools in England.
Please click the following links to see what the Department for Education (DfE) now require your child to be taught by the time they leave The Wavell:
- That there are different types of committed, stable relationships
- How these relationships might contribute to human happiness and their importance for bringing up children
- What marriage and civil partnerships are, including their legal status (e.g. that marriage and civil partnerships carries legal rights and protections not available to couples who are cohabiting or who have married, for example, in an unregistered religious ceremony)
- Why marriage and civil partnerships are an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be freely entered into
- The characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships
- The roles and responsibilities of parents with respect to the raising of children, including the characteristics of successful parenting
- How to determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy; how to judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe (and to recognise this in others’ relationships); and how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others, if needed
Respectful Relationships, including Friendships:
- The characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (in all contexts, including online), including: trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending relationships. This includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship
- Practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships
- How stereotypes, in particular stereotypes based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)
- That in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and in turn, they should show due respect to others, including people in positions of authority, and due tolerance of other people’s beliefs
- About different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders to report bullying, and how and where to get help
- That some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control
- What constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable
- The legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal
- Their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online
- About online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online
- Not to provide material to others that they would not want to be shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them
- What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online
- The impact of viewing harmful content
- That specifically sexually explicit material (e.g. pornography) presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviour, can damage the way people themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners
- That sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail
- How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online
- The concepts of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and FGM, and how these can affect current and future relationships
Intimate and Sexual Relationships, Including Sexual Health
- How people can actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent, and how and when consent can be withdrawn (in all contexts, including online)
- How to recognise the characteristics and positive aspects of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships, which include mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex, and friendship
- That all aspects of health can be affected by choices they make in sex and relationships, positively or negatively (e.g. physical, emotional, mental, sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing)
- The facts about reproductive health, including fertility and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women
- That there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others
- That they have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex
- The facts about the full range of contraceptive choices, efficacy and options available
- The facts around pregnancy, including miscarriage
- That there are choices in relation to pregnancy (with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options, including keeping the baby, adoption, abortion and where to get further help)
- How the different sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, are transmitted, how risk can be reduced through safer sex (including through condom use) and the importance of and facts about testing
- About the prevalence of some STIs, the impact they can have on those who contract them and key facts about treatment
- How the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviour
- How to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment
Building on a long tradition of strong PSHE teaching and content, the 2020 Department for Education changes to the Relationships and Sex Education curriculum have had minimum impact to your child’s lessons. We are proud that our curriculum was already grounded in an ethos of wellbeing and positive relationships.
Changes to the Right to Withdraw from the RSE Curriculum:
Parents/carers will have the right to withdraw their child from part or all of the sex education delivered as part of RSE. When the new requirements come into place, parents/ carers can do this until 3 terms before their child turns 16. After that, it'll be the child's decision. Currently, the SRE guidance doesn't set any age limit for withdrawing a child from sex education.
To support you with understanding your child’s Relationships and Sex Education please see the Frequently Asked Questions below:
Why do you teach Relationship and Sex Education at The Wavell?
The name ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ can be a bit misleading - It’s actually about developing your child’s positive emotional and mental wellbeing with all manner of relationships, including family and friendships.
RSE is really principally about relationships – first and foremost what constitutes healthy and respectful ones.
How does the school decide when to teach certain RSE content? Will it be age appropriate?
Firstly, The PSHE Department uses accredited and respected national PSHE Associations to inform our lessons. We also use national and local trends to inform our lessons, as well as communication with the Directors of Students, Senior Leadership Team and the wider Pastoral Team to shape relevant lessons at the right time for your child. The PSHE Department works alongside our Science Department, and we also have developed school wide Focus Groups to ensure all content is effective, age appropriate, useful and thorough. First and foremost, The PSHE Department wish that all our students leave the school with an appropriate knowledge about how to be part of and understand how to recognise healthy and loving relationships. This includes family relationships, friendships, relationships with themselves and romantic relationships also. We always ensure that any content is age appropriate and is only information – never advice. All lessons are approved by National PSHE Organisations, staff and governors in advance.
How is LGBTQ+ content taught?
Students actually begin learning about different family structures in early Primary School – from either Reception, Year 1, Year 2 or Year 3. Understanding different types of loving relationships is taught throughout primary school. When they come to us, we do not teach LGBTQ+ content as a separate/standalone topic. We use the principles of the 9 Protected Characteristics Act 2010 to inform the school’s RSE ethos: that all families, all genders and all sexual orientations are of equal importance. It is important that, at The Wavell, we teach students about all different relationships, and demonstrate how we fundamentally respect all of these.
I want to withdraw my child from RSE. How do I do this?
Firstly, you are still allowed to withdraw your child from the sex element of Relationships and Sex Education despite it being statutory. However, schools are not required to provide your child alternative work for this period of time, but we will provide a space for them to sit and work independently. Please note: according to The Department for Education, all children can opt back in three terms before their 16th birthday. If the child chooses to exercise this right, they will have access to RSE without parental approval.
Do you teach about pornography? I don’t want my child to see any pornographic images.
Yes as, unfortunately statistically, 93% boys and 62% girls are exposed to pornography or pornographic images before the age of 16. Ours is an Anti-Pornography assembly to the students at some time during KS4 (Year 10s and 11s) only. This is led by one male and one female member of the PSHE team. This assembly covers the dangers of pornography by teaching the students that what is in Pornography is unreal, that it doesn’t depict a healthy relationship, or promote positive body image. We explain that if, sadly, often can portray oppressive, often violent and dangerous behaviour.
Do you teach about sexting?
Yes, we educate our students about the dangerous of sexting. We are overt in communicating that this is considered an illegal offence until the age of 18. Many of our lessons include teaching the students about the law of our country. We link these lessons to unhealthy relationships, being pressured (how to both recognise and avoid such pressure) and explain about the importance of boundaries. We also link this to teaching about consent. We introduce this idea overtly in Year 9, through looking at consent in friendships. However, consent features in many of our lessons before this – for example when considering peer pressure.
Do you teach about pregnancy?
A member of the PSHE Team conducts a detailed assembly in Year 11 called ‘Pregnancy and Parenting’. This teaches all about the different stages of pregnancy – including the emotional and physical difficulty of this. It is a mixed gender assembly, and it is given by GCSE students studying Child Care. We also discuss about abortion and adoption during the Year 11 RSE assemblies. Again, this is information not advice. No one method is endorsed. Students learn in Year 9 about contraception as part of a single sex assembly.
Do you teach about Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Yes, as part of our single sex assemblies we teach about Sexually Transmitted Infections. There are also subsequent lessons to be taught during PSHE time.
How do PSHE teachers answer tricky questions?
Teachers are used to answering unexpected questions or comments, but if comments concern a teacher they will use appropriate safeguarding procedures which are already in place within the school.
How can I talk to my child about Relationships and Sex at home?
Please see the links below:
I want to teach my child about the LGBTQ+ community, but don’t know the correct and appropriate terms for this and I don’t want to make mistakes.
We have created a ‘glossary of terms’ for staff here at The Wavell. This has been created using Stonewall’s websites and resources as well as our own previous staff training. The PSHE Department would like to share this with you too, as our Parent/School Partnership is something we pride ourselves on: