The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduces new legislation on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in schools. In July 2018 the Government set out plans for its
implementation encouraging schools to be ready to start teaching the new curriculum from September 2019 and enabling schools needing more support to use the additional time to prepare to teach high quality RSE from September 2020. Thus, the Department for Education is introducing compulsory Relationships Education for primary pupils and Relationships and Sex Education for secondary pupils. By Summer term 2021 all schools are expected to be compliant.

Our world has changed significantly, children now face new challenges: they have to process lots of information from different sources such as TV, the Internet, social media, understand how society is changing, understand risks they may face, all putting pressure on their physical and mental health. Having said that, we believe that RSE is important for our pupils and our school. Through these subjects, we want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe – we want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society. We view the partnership of home and school as vital in providing the context to both complement and reinforce what pupils learn at home about healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online, as well as how to be healthy.

Throughout our engagement process as we developed this curriculum, we have heard a
number of wide-ranging concerns. We have answered some of the common questions
around these subjects as follows:

RSE Statement

RSE Policy

Primary Relationships Education Overview

Secondary Relationships Education Overview

What is Relationships and Sex Education?

RSE is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up. It should equip children and young people with the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships and to take responsibility for their sexual health and well-being.

Good quality RSE is an entitlement for all children and young people and must:

  • Be accurate and factual, covering a comprehensive range of information about
  • relationships, the law, sex and sexual health, in order to enable children and young
  • people to make informed choices. In schools this should be part of compulsory
  • curriculum provision;
  • Be positively inclusive in terms of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity,
  • culture, age, religion or belief or other life-experience;
  • Include the development of skills to support healthy and safe relationships and
  • ensure good communication about these issues;
  • Promote a critical awareness of the different attitudes and views on relationships
  • and sex within society such as peer norms and those portrayed in the media;
  • Provide opportunities for reflection in order to nurture personal values based on
  • mutual respect and care;
  • Be part of lifelong learning, starting early in childhood and continuing throughout
  • life. It should always reflect the age and maturity of the learner;
  • Ensure children and young people are clearly informed of their rights such as how
  • they can access confidential advice and health services within the boundaries of
  • safeguarding;
  • Be relevant and meet the needs of children and young people, and actively involve
  • them as participants, advocates and evaluators in developing good quality provision;
  • Be delivered by competent and confident educators;
  • Be provided within a learning environment which is safe for the children, young
  • people and adults involved and based on the principle that prejudice, discrimination
  • and bullying are harmful and unacceptable.

Does the new RSE curriculum take account of my faith?

Yes, The Academy provides a secure Islamic atmosphere through the knowledge and
implementation of the Qur’an and Sunnah. RSE is an important part of this and is taught in line with the Academy’s Islamic ethos. RSE serves to enhance the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for a fulfilled life as adults. In its best sense, RSE enables pupils to reinforce their Islamic values.

RSE includes very sensitive topics, and as an Islamic school we need to deliver it through our faith values and in line with the statutory guidance. As stated in the RSE guidance, religious background can be taken into consideration. Thus, teachers will ensure that resources and teaching methods respect Islamic principles (value and culture) and the expectation of RSE statutory guidance.

How can our religious belief fit with RSE Curriculum?

As a parent it is your right to talk to your child about religious beliefs. In school we build our curriculum around UK law taking into consideration our Islamic values. We are teaching children that all people and relationships are equal. We are teaching pupils that all families are different and your child, as they grow up, are going to meet people who live in different families. It is important that Pupils learn about people who are different. They need to learn to be tolerant and respectful of people with different views. When they grow up, they can make up their own minds about what is right and wrong.

Is RSE compulsory?

We are not introducing sex education at primary school. However, compulsory
Relationships Education is being introduced in Primary schools by the Summer term 2021, to put in place the building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds.

This will start with family and friends, how to treat each other with kindness, and
recognising the difference between online and offline friendships. In the Primary section, the Academy will only teach sex education that focuses on puberty and reproduction. This is part of the Science National Curriculum for Y5 and Y6 and it is already compulsory.

In Upper School, we are introducing Relationships and Sex Education for secondary pupils from Summer 2021. This is to ensure all young people can be happy, healthy and safe and thus make a positive contribution to society. At the Academy we are committed to teach age-appropriate sex education alongside relationships education.

Does RSE negatively impact Pupils?

No, the reverse is true. Every child needs RSE. One reason is that sexual abuse can happen to any child. Statistics show that abusers are usually known to a child and often within their family. This is one reason why it’s of fundamental importance that every child receives relationships education. If we fail to teach children RSE they are left vulnerable.

Is school the best place for discussions about Sex and Relationships?

We know from surveys of children that if they do not have the correct, age appropriate, and accurate information about relationships and sex from a reliable source, they will find the information from other sources (friends, older siblings, website, tv) which may not be true or age appropriate. The information gathered during the Government consultation found that most children wanted this information and discussion to be provided in school with their teachers so that they could ask their questions in a safe space and have them
answered in an age-appropriate way.

Has the government listened to the views of my community in introducing these subjects?

The Government undertook a wide public consultation which involved discussions with over 90 organisations, as well as the public consultation on the draft regulations and guidance.

This has informed the key decisions on these subjects. The consultation received over
11,000 responses from teachers, schools, expert organisations, young people and parents – these responses have helped finalise the statutory guidance.

Where can I find out more information about what will be taught in my child’s school?

If you want to know more about what will be taught as part of the new subjects, the best option is to speak to us and have a look at the government published parent guides, which explain what the subjects are, and parents’ rights.

These subjects are designed to equip your child with knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for a successful adult life. The important lessons you teach your child about healthy relationships, looking after themselves and staying safe, are respected and valued under this new curriculum.

Teaching at school will complement and reinforce the lessons you teach your child as they grow up. The academy has the flexibility to deliver the content in a way that is age and developmentally appropriate and sensitive to the needs and religious background of our pupils. RSE can support young people to develop resilience, to know how and when to ask for help, and to know where to access support.

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

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 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.

There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education at Primary or Secondary school as the contents of these subjects – such as family, friendship, safety (including online safety) – are important for all children to be taught. Schools also are required to teach National Curriculum science, which includes some elements of sex education. Parents do not have a right to withdraw from this.

What role do parents play in supporting RSE?

Most parents are very supportive of schools providing relationships and sex education, and also want to play a part in educating their children at home.

Effective RSE is a partnership between parents and schools. Parents need to be given
adequate information about what is taught and when. School-home communication about RSE should start early so that parents can anticipate topics covered at school and make their own timely input or follow up at home. And parents have just as much right to expect good quality teaching in RSE as in other subjects.

To fully meet the needs of children and young people there is a need for the proactive
support for parents and carers to have an active role in providing RSE at home. Improved and ongoing home-school RSE communication can make an important contribution to this.

How will we know what is being taught so I can talk to my child about it at home?

Information will be shared with parents on the school website, and you may contact the
Leader of the Pupil Health and Wellbeing Team (who has responsibility for PSHE and RSE Programme) by email; Parents will be given an
opportunity to view the curriculum and share their thoughts. As the curriculum planning
develops, parents will have the opportunity to look at materials that will be used. At the
beginning of each year there will be an opportunity to discuss with the class teacher the year’s curriculum. Each term parents will also have access to information on the school website which will summarise what is being taught. If you need to discuss this further, teachers will be happy to discuss this with you or signpost other resources that can be used at home to support discussions.

What is the right age to start teaching RSE?

Children are interested in 'where babies come from' and what makes boys and girls
different from a very young age. It is natural for children to be curious and ask these
questions. Children take in the information around them about sex and relationships from a very young age even if no-one talks to them about it. Many of the things they pick up are incorrect and confusing. For this reason, it is important that parents and carers answer their children's questions to help them make sense of it all. 

Adults can find sometimes questions from children about sex and relationships difficult and embarrassing - but if adults are able to answer in an honest and confident way this will set the tone for children - making it easier for them to bring up similar topics as they are growing up.

Good quality RSE is taught through a spiral curriculum which develops with the child.
RSE begins with teaching children about appropriate behaviour, safety and basic
understanding of their bodies and how families care for them. In a poll of 1000 parents of school-aged children, 78% said they wanted primary schools to teach children about the difference between safe and unwanted touch and how to speak up if someone treats them inappropriately, whilst 72% of parents felt that primary schools should educate children on what to do if they find online pictures showing private body parts or are asked to send them.

Will our children learn about LGBT?

We are teaching about equality. Our school ethos says that we are respectful of everyone. We value ourselves and all others, this means that people from all walks of life are welcome in our school.

Our faith is inclusive and welcoming and so is our school. 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. In our school the teaching of LGBT will be delivered through teaching about different types of families, including those with same sex parents. All our planned learning will be taught in an age-appropriate way in the context of the law and our Islamic ethos.

Are primary children too young to be taught about LGBT?

Our children will interact with people from different backgrounds, we want them to treat all members of the community with the same respect. Just like racism, school has a duty of care to challenge any language that may cause offence to others, whether used intentionally or not. Phrases such as “that’s so gay” or “that’s a girls/boys toy” when used in a negative manner may unintentionally cause offence to a child or adult. The Academy will challenge this language if it is used by children, parents or visitors as we want everyone to feel welcome.

We are teaching children to be confident in their faith while also not to be afraid of
difference but to celebrate it. We are preparing the children for life in Britain. The UK is a diverse country and they are going to meet people who are different to them as they grow up, watch TV, go to different places they may meet people who are different from them or have different beliefs.

Is RSE replacing PSHE?

No. We will be delivering the DfE's Relationships Education and Health Education statutory guidance within the wider PSHE curriculum.

What are the topics covered in RSE?

In school, RSE topics will be taught within our Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum. Our PSHE curriculum is split into three categories. RSE is part of the first two categories.

Sex education ‘should ensure that both boys and girls are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and – drawing on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science - how a baby is conceived and born’.
Health Education will be mandatory in all primary and secondary schools in England. Health Education includes a section for primary and secondary schools on puberty, the changing adolescent body, menstrual wellbeing and the menstrual cycle.

Relationships Education, Health Education, science and sex education work together to protect children by ensuring they have knowledge of their bodies, the human life-cycle, emotions and acceptable behaviour.

Will this work prompt my children to ask challenging questions?

Possibly, your child or children trust you and will be likely to ask you questions to test your beliefs and opinions. Please do not avoid them, talk openly about diversity and equality.

How do I explain what ‘gay’ means to my child?

In our teaching at school, we will be answering as follows: ‘Gay’ is when a man loves a man. ‘Lesbian’ is when two women love each other. ‘Bi sexual’ is when a person can love both men and women. ‘Transgender’ is when a person feels different about the body they were born into.

What do I say if my child comes home and asks, ‘how can two men/women have a baby?’

Lots of people have children in different ways, like fostering, adoption or step families.
These are all families. They look after one another and love one another so they are the
same in many ways. Some families have a mum and dad. Some families have a mum and a mum. Some families have two dads. Some families have one mum or dad or one
grandparent. All families are different.

Does my child’s school has to engage with me before teaching these subjects?

The Academy will consult parents when developing and reviewing the policies for
Relationships and Sex Education, which will inform schools’ decisions on when and how
certain content is covered. Effective engagement gives the space and time for our parents to input, ask questions, share concerns and for the school to decide the way forward. The Academy will listen to parents’ views, and then make a reasonable decision as to how they wish to proceed. When and how content is taught is ultimately a decision for the school.

What support will schools receive to deliver these subjects well?

We are able to access high quality resources and there will also be training available for our teachers offering opportunities to improve subject knowledge and build confidence. We are working with expert organisations to help teachers introduce these subjects well and develop their skills. Our Islamic/Humanities department is also supporting the development and teaching of the RSE curriculum, particularly in the Upper School.

How can we make sure that young people in my school have confidential advice and support?

It is important that young people can get confidential one-to-one support as well as having opportunities to learn about sex and relationships with their peer group. The classroom is a public place, where it is not appropriate to talk about private concerns. However, RSE is likely to raise personal issues for some young people. 

We will ensure that our young people are given clear information about where they can get confidential advice and support - either in school or nearby. RSE lessons are an obvious place to tell young people about the services available locally. The government guidance on RSE advises that schools give young people "precise details of local confidential advice"

The Academy has an internal School Counsellor, School Health Advisor and the School Nurse where pupils can also seek confidential support.