Parental consultation and information on Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RSE)
Dear Parents and Carers,
As part of your child’s educational experience at St. Joseph’s, we aim to promote personal wellbeing and development through a comprehensive programme of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education that gives children and young people the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive and fulfilled lives, both now and in the future.
From September 2020, the Department for Education is making Relationships and Health Education (Primary) and Relationships Sex Education and Health Education compulsory in all schools. Along with other schools we will be gradually introducing some of the changes throughout this school year.
What does the new guidance mean?
The new guidance focuses on healthy relationships and keeping children safe in the modern world. It also covers a wide range of topics relating to physical and mental health, wellbeing, safeguarding and healthy relationships. Learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, it will give children and young people the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships and will help them take responsibility for their own well-being. All of the sessions will be age-appropriate and meet the needs of all pupils in the class.
What will the teaching of Relationships, Sex and Health Education look like in a Catholic context?
In teaching this subject we will:
• be faithful to the Church's vision of human wholeness whilst recognising the contemporary context in which we live today;
• involve parents as they are primary educators of their child;
• provide a positive view of human sexuality and dignity of the human person;
• equip young people with the ability to make practical judgments about the right thing to do in particular circumstances;
• explore and promote virtues which are essential to promoting respect and dignity;
• deliver in an age appropriate way which reflects the development of the child;
• use cross-curricular work to support the subject;
• be sensitive to the needs of the individual pupil and recognise the mix of pupils with different sexual orientations, genders and family backgrounds in each class;
How will this be delivered?
As part of the school’s Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme and science curriculum, we have purchased new resources to cover our Relationships, Health and Sex education (RSE) unit. All teaching in PSHE will take place in a safe learning environment and is underpinned by our school ethos and values. We will be using a programme from ‘Ten Ten Resources’ called ‘Life to the Full’. This programme has been approved by our Diocese (the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle) and materials will be made available so you can see what is being taught in class and how to support your child at home.
We will teach the new RSE material within the context of a Christian understanding of human sexuality rooted in the wisdom and teaching of the Catholic Church. As a Catholic School, we will be following the Diocesan Primary Curriculum Framework for Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education which is fully compliant with the statutory requirements as set out above. We would like to make you aware that part of the ‘Making Babies’ module in Year 6 goes beyond the statutory requirements, in so far as it includes one module of sex education at Year 6 covering how human life is conceived in the womb, including the language of sperm and ova. Parents have the right to withdraw from this part of the module, but not from the lesson on menstruation.
Should you wish to withdraw your child from lesson 1 and 2 in the ‘Making babies’ module you will need to do so by notifying the Headteacher in writing. Please note, this request would have to be made on a year by year basis. The school will provide parental support by providing material for you to help children with their learning in this area, and please remember the benefits of this important education being taught in a safe environment. The Department for Education guidance on parental preference refers to potential detrimental effects of withdrawal of a child from these lessons – this could include social and emotional effects of being excluded, as well as the likelihood of your child hearing their peers’ version of what was said in classes, rather than what was directly said by the teacher.
For more detail about our PSHE curriculum offer, and to access our draft consultation policy, please visit our school website.
What if I have questions?
Please read our draft consultation policy published on our website, and our curriculum document, which will show you in detail the modules covered across school from Early Years to Year 6. To introduce parents to this concept and to ensure everyone is informed, we would like to invite you to attend a parent information meeting on Tuesday 24th March to find out more about what your child will learn, view the materials and resources being used in lessons and discover how you can best support your child to discuss these topics at home. As a school community, we are committed to working with parents and your children in the best way that we can, preparing them for the world in which they live.
Should you have any further questions, please contact Mrs. Beattie, subject lead for PSHE Education.