Pastoral Education - PHSE and RSE
What is PHSE and RSE?
Schools have an important part to play in helping their pupils to become well-rounded individuals. Personal, social and health and economic education, or PSHE, aims to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding to lead confident, healthy and independent lives.
At Lynsted and Norton school our curriculum already has a strong pastoral focus, with a FLO and a well-being lead, and we deploy our staff to ensure our children have the opportunities to develop strategies that will help them both now and in later life.
During 2020 the DFE completed their consultation on Relationship and Sexual Education (RSE) and published their statutory guidance in September 2020. Within our PHSE curriculum there is an element of relationships education and some appropriate aspects of sex education.
There are five compulsory areas of learning in the relationship education:
- Families and people who care for me
- Caring friendships
- Respectful relationships
- Online relationships
- Being safe
To reflect the world in which they live, children at Lynsted will be taught about such things as preparing for the online world and relationships both on and off line, civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage, and unhealthy relationships, including violence, abuse and bullying.
In February 21 we reviewed our RSE/PHSE curriculum so we can be sure our RSE provision is appropriate for our pupils based on their:
- Physical and emotional maturity
- Religious and cultural backgrounds
- Special educational needs and disabilities
Parents and carers cannot withdraw their children from compulsory relationships education, but can withdraw their child from non statutory elements. However under the National Curriculum, the basics of sex education fall within the science curriculum. ‘The statutory content requires maintained schools to teach children about human development, including puberty, and reproduction,’
In Year 2, children learn that animals, including humans, have offspring that grow into adults. They should be introduced to the concepts of reproduction and growth, but not how reproduction occurs.
In Year 5, children are taught about the life cycles of humans and animals, including reproduction. They also learn about the changes that happen in humans from birth to old age. This includes learning what happens in puberty, including periods.
Beyond this, sex education isn't compulsory in primary schools.
How will we teach PHSE/RSE in school?
We are using the PHSE association plans and objectives which support our staff with age appropriate resources for learning. Like our science the main driver for learning is the ‘Big Question’ encouraging the children to think about possible answers.
Staff will focus on different aspects of the termly question each week in a short session.
Techniques that schools may use to deliver the pastoral curriculum include:
- Using storybooks that open up discussions
- Circle time and question box activities
- Drama, role-play and puppets.
- Watching videos and discussing what children have learned.
Our pastoral curriculum may be taught as a whole-class, but children may also be split up into boys and girls or small groups at times: for example, children might be taught about puberty in single-sex groups.
Teachers in school are aware that children will come from a variety of different family backgrounds, and will take this into account when preparing lessons. They will also ensure everything they teach is done in an age-appropriate way, adapting for differences in age, understanding and maturity in their class.
For example in the ‘Caring friendships’ area of learning, a Reception class might talk about how friends make us feel; a Year 3/4 class might discuss the characteristics of friendship (loyalty, kindness, shared interests etc) and how to deal with friendship problems both face to face and online; a Year 5/6 class might talk about who to trust and not trust, and what to do if a friendship is making them uncomfortable.
If you’re not happy with your child taking part in any additional sex education at school, you have the right to withdraw them from any or all of it, and the school should make alternative arrangements for your child for the duration of the teaching.
Dealing with questions
As with any topic children will ask questions during RSE to further their understanding. When tackling a sensitive topic teachers will employ strategies to ensure that questions are asked and answered in an appropriate way. Through the use of ground rules at the start of sessions children will be reminded that personal questions are not appropriate.
As they get older they will also be introduced to the ‘question box’. Teachers will explain that if a pupil has a question they are to write it down and put it into the question box. This allows the teacher time to ensure questions are answered in an appropriate and factual way with reference to the age and maturity of the class.
Teachers may feel that it is not appropriate to answer some questions in front of the whole group – the question will then be addressed on an individual basis with the pupil and in some cases with parents/carers. All staff will be mindful of their safeguarding role and will follow the relevant school procedures if a question raises concerns of this nature.
Teachers will use the following strategies to deal with unexpected questions:
- If a question is personal, the teacher will remind pupils of the ground rules and may refer the pupil to other agencies, such as, a counsellor, school nurse, help line etc.
- If the teacher doesn’t know the answer to a question, the teacher will acknowledge this and may research the question later.
- If the question is too explicit, is outside set parameters, is inappropriate in a whole class setting or raises concerns about sexual abuse the teacher should acknowledge it and promise to attend to it on an individual basis.
Sometimes children may ask questions about issues that are not part of the planned programme, this may show that the taught curriculum is not meeting their needs. This will be fed back to the Coordinator as part of the evaluation and monitoring process