In my last blog we went back to basics to consider the various aspects of PSHE education and how the statutory content fits within this. Today we will consider the policies your school requires in these areas.
The government guidance sets out the statutory requirements for a Relationships Policy for primary and a Relationships and Sex education policy for secondary schools. Full information can be found on page 11 of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory guidance 2019
Schools have asked whether they need to have policies for each area or if they can be combined. This depends on your school but for ease of use I think it makes sense to combine everything into one PSHE education policy. If you take this approach, make sure that it is clear that the document includes the statutory requirements. I have produced a checklist for writing a policy which is available to buy here
One important aspect of the policy is consulting with parents and carers. This provides an opportunity to share what will be taught, when and how. This can be done in a variety of ways but it is important that parents and carers are given the opportunity to understand your school’s approach and to ask questions.
There has been some confusion on the purpose of the consultation due to the statutory nature of the content. School’s need to be clear that parents and carers cannot stop the teaching of the content set out in the guidance, but they may have an input on when the content is introduced and also how it is approached. The DfE is clear that ultimately the school will make the final decision on their approach.
Parents and carers can have more input on anything additional the school wishes to include such as sex education in the primary schools. Their opinion should be listened to and used to inform the school’s approach.
Many schools are struggling with consultation while we are in lockdown and schools are closed. Some have chosen to do this virtually by online survey or email. Others have decided to wait until schools reopen. With the sensitive nature of some of these topics I would suggest face to face discussions might be more appropriate, but this needs to be a decision based on the needs of your school community.
In the next blog we will consider what sex education is needed in the primary school.
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