The concept of teaching RSHE to children as young as those in Key Stage 1 (5 years of age) can seem inappropriate and alarming to some people but this, in large part, is due to a misconception of what constitutes RSHE, particularly in the early years of schooling.
The purpose of school RSHE, located within a broader, carefully planned programme of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, is to gradually and appropriately prepare children and young people for adult life and positive healthy relationships. It supports them through their physical, emotional and moral development, and helps them to understand themselves, respect others and sustain healthy relationships of all kinds.
RSHE is not about encouraging sexual experimentation, taking away a child’s innocence or overruling the wishes and rights of parents.
RSHE in the primary school lays the foundation for factual knowledge and the more sexually explicit information required by young people in later years. It prepares children for the changes at puberty, physically, emotionally and socially. It helps develop the child’s skills in being able to apply information and creates opportunities for reflecting on attitudes and values that may affect their decisions and choices in later years.
In early primary years, RSHE is largely about relationships and the need to focus on friendship, growing and changing, and the building of self-esteem.
“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 the knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science – how a baby is conceived and born.”
Relationships, Sex and Health Education in Outwood Primary Academies is integrated into all aspects of PSHE from the start of school life. Children are taught about topics such as respect for themselves and others, relationships, how to deal with peer pressure, loss and separation and are encouraged to talk about and deal with a range of feelings, including love.
All sessions are taught to the children by their usual teacher in their classes. Occasionally groups may be split into same sex groups if deemed appropriate by the teacher delivering the session. All resources used in lessons are age-related and specific to lesson content.
If a child asks a question which relates to relationships and sex education, teachers try to answer as honestly and factually as possible, whilst remaining sensitive to the age and circumstances of the child.
Teachers are encouraged to collect questions in a box during and after RSHE related sessions so that answers can be carefully thought about and prepared in advance.
If the teacher feels it is necessary, they may discuss this with the child’s parents before answering.
You can find more information about RSHE, including the policy, below. If you still have questions and/or queries about the content of these sessions or would like further advice or support on your child’s learning in this area, please contact us.