Intent: Knowledge, Skills and the National Curriculum
The focus of RSE is teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them. From the beginning of school, building on early education, pupils are taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy.
Establishing personal space and boundaries, showing respect and understanding the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact – these are the forerunners of teaching about consent, which takes place at secondary.
Respect for others is taught in age-appropriate ways, in terms of understanding one’s own and others’ boundaries in play, in negotiations about space, toys, books, resources and so on.
From the beginning, teachers talk explicitly about the features of healthy friendships, family relationships and other relationships which young children are likely to encounter. Drawing attention to these in a range of contexts should enable pupils to form a strong early understanding of the features of relationships that are likely to lead to happiness and security. This will also help them to recognise any less positive relationships when they encounter them.
The principles of positive relationships also apply online especially as many children will already be using the internet. When teaching relationships content, teachers will address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to pupils’ lives. Teachers include content on how information and data is shared and used in all contexts, including online.
We understand that teaching about families requires sensitive and well-judged teaching based on knowledge of pupils and their circumstances. Care is taken to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances and needs. Time is planned in to reflect sensitively that some children may have a different structure of support around them; for example, looked after children or young carers.
Alongside understanding the importance of self-respect and self-worth, pupils are supported to develop personal attributes including honesty, integrity, courage, humility, kindness, generosity, trustworthiness and a sense of justice.
Relationships Education also creates an opportunity to enable pupils to be taught about positive emotional and mental wellbeing, including how friendships can support mental wellbeing.
The HCAT progressive documents support the progression of knowledge and skills a child should learn and how these are built upon over time.
Implementation: Accelerated Learning
The Accelerated Learning Cycle, based on the work of Alastair Smith, is applied in all lessons. It stems from the idea of a supportive and challenging learning environment. The cycle has active engagement through multi-sensory learning, encourages the demonstrating understanding of learning in a variety of ways and the consolidation of knowing.
The curriculum documents for science also includes subject content in related areas, such as the main external body parts, the human body as it grows from birth to old age (including puberty) and reproduction in some plants and animals. At MPS we cover this additional content on sex education to meet the needs of our pupils, even though this is not a statutory requirement.
It is important that the transition phase before moving to secondary school supports pupils’ ongoing emotional and physical development effectively. Therefore, HCAT have developed a bespoke sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of our pupils. It aims to 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 curriculum for science - how a baby is conceived and born.
The Relationships Education, RSE, and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 have made Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools. However, sex education is not compulsory in primary schools and the content set out in this guidance which chooses to teach aspects of sex education (which go beyond the national curriculum for science), is in-line with our schools’ policies and all our schools have individually consulted with parents on what is to be covered.
Impact: Summative and Formative Assessment
RSE is largely assessed formatively by the class teacher. By knowing the class well and establishing ground rules early on, the class teacher creates close, positive relationships with the children in which they are able to assess the understanding of the children during each topic. As our lessons are mainly discussion based, reflection questions are completed after a lesson to show progress throughout KS1 and KS2. Teachers will provide written and verbal feedback based on reflections of the children to challenge their thinking and extend them further. In Early Years Foundation Stage, we assess children’s knowledge and understanding according to the relevant aspects of the Development Matters. The information gathered will inform subsequent teaching and learning.
As a school, we believe that reflection time is an important step in pupil learning and progress. We ensure that our pupils are given time to reflect upon their learning. Reflection helps us to recognise what and how we have learned and what we need to focus on in the future. Reflection should be about valuing and encouraging pupil involvement – getting them to share ideas, listen to each other and develop the confidence to join in.