“We found the RSE policy review and wider support an invaluable aid to improve our provision”Emma Cornhill, Headteacher Fairburn School, North Yorkshire
The expectations for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) became statutory in September 2020 for all schools including Independent schools, academies, free schools, non-maintained special schools and alternative provision, including pupil referral units.
These are mandatory expectations in maintained schools and provide lists of things that pupils should know by the end of primary school and secondary school in terms of Health Education, including learning about the changing adolescent body. Although the statutory requirement to provide Health Education does not apply to independent schools it would considered best practice to cover these elements are part of the PSHE curriculums.
In primary schools, relationships education is statutory and although the DFE recommend children learn about sex education beyond that already covered in the science curriculum, within RSE, primary schools can choose not to teach “how babies are made and born”.
In secondary schools all pupils must learn about relationships and sex education, although if parents wish to withdraw their child from sex education in the secondary school, they may do so up until three terms before the young person becomes 16 where they may ‘opt in’ to sex education, whatever their parents’ wishes.
The same statutory requirements policy also expects pupils to develop attributes such as honesty, integrity, and a sense of social justice.
The DFE has also produced guidance which recommends that the statutory components of RSE should sit within a wider framework of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.
PSHE education has been a statutory expectation for independent schools for a number of years. Independent schools must meet the Independent School Standards as set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014. The outcomes of PSHE education have been shown to improve children’s physical and mental health and also to improve academic attainment.
Inspection of RSE & PSHE
Although OFSTED does not always carry out a deep dive in PSHE, ISI always look specifically at RSE provision & PSHE education. The expectations around personal development, behaviour and attitudes, diversity and inclusion, addressing KCSIE in terms of sexual violence and harassment and safeguarding are particularly significant and have led to recent failures in RCI & FCI ( part of an EQI) inspections by ISI. It is difficult to see how a school can meet these wider expectations without a high-quality PSHE education programme.
Few teachers receive their initial training in RSE / PSHE education and the audits for primary and secondary schools are invaluable support for school leaders, subject leads and teachers ensure compliance with the expectations.
How can we help your MAT, Academy or School?
We can provide schools with self-assessment tools for checking their own policy in the first instance and, a more detailed audit for checking your policy.
Full RSE / PSHE Audit
Our PSHE team will carry out an onsite visit, meeting with Senior Leaders, the PSHE Lead and other relevant members of your team.
This visit will:
Ensure full compliance with the statutory expectations for PSHE Education:
Full Audit Report
The Inspection Team will give verbal feedback to the HeadTeacher, PSHE lead and other relevant members of the SLT during the visit. After the visit, we will follow up with a full written report which can be presented to the Governing Body.