Update on Relationships and Health Education 2020

As of September 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced compulsory Relationships and Health Education for Primary Schools.  These subjects are now statutory which means that parents no longer have the right to withdraw their children from these lessons.

Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. In this environment, children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way.

This is why the DfE have made Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools in England and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools, as well as making Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools.

However, it is important to note that the curriculum hasn’t really changed from what we, at Parkhill, have been teaching for the past few years. The main change is that it is now compulsory.

Relationships Education includes:

  • Families and people who care for me
  • Caring Friendships
  • Respectful Relationships
  • Online Relationships
  • Being safe

Health Education includes:

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Internet safety and harms
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Healthy eating
  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  • Health and disease prevention
  • Basic First Aid
  • Changing adolescent bodies

Sex Education will continue to be taught as it always has at Parkhill: In line with the National Curriculum, adapted to meet the needs of our children and with a view to safeguard the children with no opinion or agenda.  This continues to be non-statutory although we do highly recommend that the children receive this education at school as it ensures clarity, age appropriate content and factual information (rather than misinformation from other sources).

Relationships, Health and Sex Education at Parkhill

As experienced practitioners, we have created a curriculum based on curriculum guidance, knowledge of our pupils and community and our expertise following years of planning and teaching sex and relationships education. We plan to educate the children with knowledge that will not only educate them about their changing bodies, but to equip them with the skills to safeguard them against potentially harmful situations, the confidence to say no to scenarios they are uncomfortable with (understanding the meaning of consent) and respect for themselves and others. All of this will be taught at an age appropriate level where the children will not be taught more than they need to know.

At Parkhill, we use a combination of National Curriculum outcomes, the Redbridge approved scheme of work and a programme called My Life (see examples) to create a comprehensive Parkhill curriculum with structured progression so children build up their understanding of health, relationships, safety and social issues in age-appropriate steps. Personal development of important qualities such as resilience, responsibility and wellbeing is also embedded. Teachers have regular CPD (Continued Professional Development) to keep their subject knowledge up to date and to ensure they are confident and accomplished with delivering these lessons.

If you have any questions about Relationships and Health Education, then please speak to your child’s class teacher or to Ms Nicola Sprenger (Deputy Headteacher and PSHE Leader)

Further guidance can be found in the following DfE document and our Parkhill RSE policy (links below)

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FAQs (taken from the website)

Below, the DfE have explained some of the common misconceptions around the subjects.

Q: Will my child’s school still have to teach these subjects from September despite the recent disruption?

A: The subjects will be compulsory from September 2020. Schools that have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance, for example engaging parents and carers, are encouraged to begin teaching the new curriculum from September 2020. Schools that are not ready to teach the subjects, or are unable to meet the requirements because of the challenging circumstances, should aim to start preparations as soon as possible and begin teaching the new curriculum by at least the start of the summer term 2021.

Q: Will my child be taught about LGBT relationships?

A: Pupils should be taught about the society in which they are growing up. These subjects are designed to foster respect for others and for difference, and educate pupils about healthy relationships.

Pupils should receive teaching on LGBT content during their school years. Teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist can be done in a way that respects everyone. Primary schools are strongly encouraged and enabled to cover LGBT content when teaching about different types of families.

Q: Does the new Relationships Education and RSE curriculum take account of my faith?

A: The subjects are designed to help children from all backgrounds build positive and safe relationships, and to thrive in modern Britain.

In all schools, when teaching these subjects, the religious background of pupils must be taken into account when planning teaching, so that topics are appropriately handled. Schools with a religious character can build on the core required content by reflecting their beliefs in their teaching.

In developing these subjects, we have worked with a number of representative bodies and faith organisations, representing all the major faith groups in England. Several faith organisations produce teaching materials that schools can choose to use.

Q: Do I have a right to withdraw my child from Relationships and Sex Education?

A: Parents will continue to have a right to request to withdraw their child from sex education delivered as part of RSE in secondary schools which, unless there are exceptional circumstances, should be granted up to three terms before their child turns 16. At this point, if the child themselves wishes to receive sex education rather than be withdrawn, the school should make arrangements for this to happen in one of the three terms before the child turns 16 – the legal age of sexual consent.

There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education at primary or secondary as we believe the contents of these subjects – such as family, friendship, safety (including online safety) – are important for all children to be taught.