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What is Relationships Education?

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Relationships Education in primary schools should teach the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other peers and adults. At Coram Life Education we believe that children should learn about relationships as well as the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, human sexuality and sexual health in an age-appropriate way. This goes beyond learning about relationships, to include puberty, how a baby is conceived and born, body ownership, and safeguarding. Although we refer to our resources as our Relationship Education programme, they also include elements of Health Education as well as non-statutory sex education. Therefore we often refer to it as RSE; Relationships and Sex Education.

Our RSE lessons are a key part of SCARF – our package for schools which provides so much more than a PSHE scheme of work. It provides the framework for a whole-school approach to improving children’s wellbeing and progress, based on five values:  safety (S), caring (C), achievement (A), resilience (R) and friendship (F). 

Our Relationships and Sex Education resources help children and young people to be safe, healthy and happy, both as they grow, and in their future lives.  Delivered as part of PSHE (England) RSHP (Scotland) or Science, they help schools meet their current SMSC development, safeguarding, and emotional wellbeing requirements, as well as ensuring that they meet the requirements of the DfE Primary Relationships Education and Health Education Curriculum, and National Curriculum Science from 2020.

When will Relationships Education become compulsory?

From September 2020 Relationships Education will become compulsory in all primary schools in England. Health Education (of which puberty education is a key component) will become compulsory in all state-funded schools. Although sex education in primary schools will not be compulsory, the DfE continues to recommend that primary schools have a sex education programme tailored to the age, and physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. All maintained schools will be expected to continue teaching Reproduction as part of the National Curriculum: Science.

What will schools need to do?

All primary schools will need to ensure they review their Relationships Education and Health Education offer, and are strongly encouraged to start now so they are ready from September 2020. This means they will need to consider the following:

• Is there an up-to-date RSE policy?

• Are teachers sufficiently trained and confident to deliver RSE? Find out about our 1-day virtual Relationships Education Workshops - low, introductory price.

• Is there a planned curriculum in place? Take a look at the SCARF curriculum. 

• Is RSE timetabled throughout the academic year so themes can be built on and messages reinforced?

• Is assessment and monitoring opportunities built in? Have a look at our assessment tools by year

• Have the needs of the pupils been considered? Take a look at this consultation pack from the Sex Education Forum.  It also covers how to consult with parents (see below).

• Have parents been consulted about the RSE offer? 

• Has a budget been allocated to purchase supporting resources? 

How can Coram Life Education's PSHE and wellbeing resources help?

By subscribing to SCARF you will have access to over 270 easy to use PSHE curriculum based lessons, making life easier for you to deliver great teaching and learning every day. These lessons are mapped to the DfE Statutory Guidance, making sure you are meeting your statutory requirements when it comes to Relationships Education and Health Education.

To add value to your programme Coram Life Education and our partners across England and Scotland can deliver four RSE workshops  directly to children.

This enables schools to enhance their provision using expert educators, experienced in discussing sensitive issues in an age-appropriate way.




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Useful reading:

Read the final Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory Guidance (June 2019)  

Read our Relationships Education lead Lisa Handy's blog, responding to the DRAFT Relationships Education and Health Education Guidance – A significant step forward but with missed opportunities (November 2018)

Read our response to the Government's call for evidence on effective Relationships Education and PSHE (July 2017) 

See our own RSE Research Report and Findings (July 2017) 

View the DfE Sex and Relationships Education Guidance (2000) 

Read Sex and Relationships Education for the 21st Century. Supplementary guidance developed by the PSHE Association, Brook, and Sex Education Forum (2014) 

Keeping Children Safe in Education: for school and colleges (September 2018) 

National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study 

Sex Education Forum Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum Design Tool

Sex Education Forum Roadmap to Statutory RSE (November 2018)

Sex Education Forum: Principles of good RSE (November 2017)


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