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Relationships and Sexuality Education

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

RSE is a positive and protective part of the Curriculum for Wales. It plays a central role in supporting learners’ rights to enjoy fulfilling, healthy and safe relationships throughout their lives.

 

Central to the Curriculum for Wales is an aspiration for every child and young person to achieve the four purposes of the curriculum. A rights and equity based RSE curriculum helps ensure that all learners can develop an understanding of how people’s faith, beliefs, human rights and cultures are related to all aspects of RSE and how these rights can contribute to the freedom, dignity, well-being and safety of all people. Therefore, schools and settings should discuss RSE in the context of the Rights protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

RSE should support learners to develop the knowledge, skills and values to understand how relationships and sexuality shape their own lives and the lives of others. Learners should be equipped and empowered to seek support on issues relating to RSE and to advocate for self and others.

 

RSE will be a mandatory requirement in the Curriculum for Wales for all learners from age 3 to 16. This means that all learners must receive this education. There is no right to withdraw from RSE in the new curriculum. However, the new curriculum is being phased in, therefore, some pupils may still be withdrawn from RSE pending the new curriculum arrangements being rolled out to their school year.

 

Developmentally Appropriate:

The Act requires that the RSE provided must be developmentally appropriate for learners. Therefore, schools and settings must take account of a range of factors such as the leaner’s age, knowledge and maturity and any additional learning needs. The RSE needs to be developmentally appropriate for each learner.

 

The age of learners should be one of the criteria by which practitioners decide upon the appropriateness of content; however, there will be other factors they will need to consider when planning provision. Factors such as the physical and mental and emotional development of learners should also be taken into account. This is essential to ensuring learners are kept safe from information for which they are not sufficiently mature to process. This, however, should not be a reason for not providing children and young people with the essential information they need as they develop physically, mentally and emotionally; developmentally appropriate RSE requires the coverage of subjects that are integral to learners’ development.

 

For example, issues which may affect younger learners, such as puberty and menstruation, should be engaged with sensitively and before the onset of physiological changes.  At Llangyfelach Primary we also consider how appropriate support is provided through a whole school approach such as, in the case of puberty, ensuring that learners have access to sanitary products.

 

RSE provision is planned and integrated part of the curriculum, coordinated effectively to ensure continuity and progression in learning across the continuum.

 

RSE for Learners with Special Educational Needs or Additional Learning Needs:

Schools providing education for learners with moderate and severe, profound and multiple learning needs should consider how best to meet the needs of all learners whose understanding of sexual health and well-being issues may not match their development.

 

All staff, including ancillary staff, physiotherapists, nurses and carers should be aware of the school’s approach to RSE when working with learners with additional learning needs.

 

Legal Status:

The RSE guidance is statutory and published under section 71 of the Act and is designed to assist those responsible under the Act for designing RSE as part of the school curriculum. They must consider the guidance when designing the curriculum.

 

Pluralistic Requirement:

The law already requires that RSE must be objective, critical, and pluralistic as to its content and manner of teaching. By pluralistic we mean that that where questions of values are concerned, it must not seek to indoctrinate to a particular view but instead should provide a range of views on a given subject. This means that in practice, all schools and settings must teach RSE in a neutral, factual way. Where questions of values arise, they must present learners with different perspectives on a range of views on issues commonly held within society.

 

A good understanding of learners’ views, emerging values and backgrounds and positive relationships with wider communities help to create a constructive context for exploring aspects and tensions.

 

Equality Act 2010:

Schools are required to comply with relevant requirements of the Equality Act 2010. In all schools and settings, teaching should reflect the law (including the Equality Act 2010) as it applies to relationships, so that young people clearly understand what the law allows and does not allow, and the wider legal implications of decisions they may make.

 

Under the provisions of the Equality Act, schools must not unlawfully discriminate against pupils because of their age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership, or sexual orientation (collectively known as the protected characteristics). Schools must also make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantage.

 

Provisions within the Equality Act 2010 allow schools to take positive action, where it can be shown that it is proportionate, to deal with particular disadvantages affecting one group because of a protected characteristic. This should be taken into consideration in designing and teaching these subjects.

 

RSE Policy Aims:

  • Outline the school’s vision of RSE within a clear values and rights framework;
  • State the aims and expected outcomes of the school’s RSE programme clearly;
  • Describe how the programme is managed and organised, and how it is embedded in the whole-school approach and forms/links with other areas of the school’s curriculum;
  • Outline how the programme is delivered, the teaching approaches and resources used and who is responsible for providing them and evaluating their effectiveness;
  • Set out the content of the RSE programme, summarising when key themes should be introduced and how potentially sensitive issues should be dealt with;
  • Describe how school policies on confidentiality, safeguarding, child protection and the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 relate to RSE;
  • Explain how learners will be given guidance about where they can obtain confidential advice, counselling and where necessary, treatment;
  • Specify how the views of learners will be sought;
  • Summarise how health professionals and specialist external agencies are involved and will enhance the RSE programme;
  • Explain how RSE is monitored and evaluated, specifying the means and timescale for regular review to ensure it is relevant and up to date; 

 

Principles of Delivering Effective RSE:

At LPS our RSE policy and programme will support and build on each learner’s knowledge, skills and values in appropriate ways throughout their development and create safe and empowering environments which build on learners’ experiences both within and beyond the educational setting providing positive alternatives to some learners’ experiences.

 

Set out below are our key principles to guide how RSE should be developed and delivered:

  • RSE will be part of a whole-school approach and effectively integrated and coordinated across the curriculum.
  • Effective RSE requires specialist expertise, (School Nurse, External Agencies) time and resources. This will ensure a supportive environment is created to ensure learners and practitioners are safe to discuss and learn about issues which may be sensitive or challenging.
  • RSE should be interdisciplinary in its approach to content, knowledge and understanding and in the way it is explored. RSE is a broad and complex area that includes biological, social, psychological, spiritual, ethical and cultural dimensions that evolve over the lifespan.
  • All practitioners should contribute to the school’s RSE priorities and professional learning is a key requirement for delivery of high quality RSE.
  • We enable all practitioners to access learning that can support them to develop confidence and knowledge regarding RSE.
  • RSE will be be delivered in a way that is inclusive. This helps ensure that all learners can see themselves, their families, their communities and each other reflected across the curriculum and can learn to value difference and diversity as a source of strength. This contributes to a cohesive, fair and equitable society that equips learners with skills for life.
  • LPS will ensure that we have clear lines of communication in relation to RSE and should engage with learners, parents, carers and the wider community offering them the opportunity to discuss and engage with decisions about learning and teaching in RSE.  During parent workshops, questionnaires, drop-in and open days.
  • Our provision draws on specialist services and expertise, and engages with local communities, being mindful of different perspectives and backgrounds within a local community.
  • Our approach to RSE will be be protective and preventative, considering how learners might need to be supported to:
  1. understand and cope with change, conflicts and pressure;
  2. have the knowledge to recognise discrimination and violence, including Violence against Women and Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence;
  3. seek help and advice where appropriate.

 

  • The teaching of RSE will respond to and be respectful of the lived experiences of learners.
  • The approach to RSE will involve recurring themes and topics which reinforce and build on the learners’ developing understanding and changing needs and should encourage learners to take increasing responsibility for their own learning.
  • Practitioners should recognise, learners’ social, physical, emotional and cognitive development and needs, as well as their evolving knowledge and experience.
  • Progression in RSE should be a continuous process aiming to improve overall learner well-being and safety and to realise the four purposes. As learners progress, they should build on previous learning: consolidating and strengthening the same dispositions; knowledge and skills and applying them in new, relevant contexts. The approach to RSE should therefore ensure that all learning and educational experiences will be sequenced and reinforced across the continuum.

 

Planning & Developing our LPS RSE Progression Continuum:

We are currently in the designing, planning and developing stage of our whole school approach to RSE, using the RSE Code as guidance to inform curriculum design and form our progression model.  

 

Welsh Government RSE Code (LINK)

 

This is due to be ratified and agreed by our Governing Body Summer 2022 and implemented by September 2022.

 

This policy will be reviewed annually within our LPS Self Review Cycle

Established March 2022

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