Relationships and Sex Education Policy

1. Statement
This policy has been drawn up in accordance with the Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory guidance on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education Regulations (2019), as issued by the Children and Social Work Act (2017). This guidance is supported by the DfE’s Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020), Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and the Equality Act 2010. This policy has been produced in conjunction with the College’s policies on e-safety and the acceptable use of ICT. The College has also consulted with parents, staff and students in the development of this policy.

2. Aim
The aim of this policy is to set out how Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is taught at the College, in line with statutory requirements.

3. Responsibility
The Proprietor, who is also the Principal, has overall responsibility, with regard to this policy, to ensure that:

  • The instruction of RSE is properly planned, regularly monitored, and reviewed and revised at least once every year;
  • Students make educational progress.Students are taught how to stay safe and protect themselves, including online;
  • Parents are consulted and properly informed about the RSE content;
  • The RSE programme is properly resourced.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is responsible for the day-to-day management of RSE at the College, which includes overseeing the development, monitoring, evaluation and review.

4. Right to withdraw
Parents and guardians of students under 16 years have the right to request that their child be withdrawn from some or all of sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE; relationship education is compulsory. Those who request to withdraw students from sex education. They will be encouraged to discuss their concerns but are not obliged. Requests for withdrawal should be put in writing to the DSL. The College will provide appropriate replacement education for these students not taking part in sex education.

Parents and guardians should be aware that the National Curriculum for Science covers material on external body parts, growth including puberty and reproduction in plants and animals.

Health education is non-compulsory for independent schools but is dealt with through the College’s PSHEE and Personal Tutor programmes.

5. Relationships and Sex Education at Ashbourne
Ashbourne promotes and encourages the development of characteristics that generally underpin good relationships, as part of its ethos, such as belief in achievable goals, perseverance, respect, honesty and integrity, courage, humility, kindness and generosity, trustworthiness, sense of justice and self-respect and self-worth.

5.1 Aims
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) relates to the emotional, social, cultural and physical development of students and includes learning about relationships, sexual health, sexuality, healthy lifestyles, diversity and identity.

The aim of RSE at Ashbourne is to provide students with well-balanced, factual information to help them better understand themselves and others, stay safe and to develop the necessary skills to recognise and nurture healthy relationships of all kinds. The topic areas covered include:

  • Families;
  • Healthy relationships, including friendships;
  • Online and media awareness;
  • Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health;
  • Relationships, sex and the law.

The College does not promote sexual experimentation but emphasises that nurturing positive relationships is possible with or without sex.

For further information about Ashbourne’s RSE curriculum please refer to Appendix 1.

5.2 Confidentiality
Ashbourne provides a safe environment in which students can discuss and explore ideas and values relating to RSE. Students must be aware, however, that certain information they disclose during these sessions which raises safeguarding concerns, such as possible abuse, cannot be held confidential and therefore may be shared with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or other relevant staff, for their own or others’ protection. Ashbourne is committed to safeguarding the welfare of all of its students.

5.3 Appropriate content and the law
The College will endeavour to ensure that material is balanced, sensitive and appropriate, including for the age group, for all students, with particular regard to the Equality Act 2010, and takes into account and teaches aspects of the law relevant to RSE.

6. Relationships and Sex Education delivery
Ashbourne’s Personal Tutors (Year 12) and the Head of Middle School (Year 11) are responsible for developing schemes of work for the teaching of RSE, in consultation with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, and for its delivery.

6.1 Ashbourne delivery
Year 12 students are taught RSE during timetabled personal tutor periods and Year 11 students are taught RSE as part of a wider PSHEE programme delivered in timetabled lessons.

RSE teachers are expected to deliver content in a non-judgemental, factual way that allows scope for students to ask questions, whether openly or anonymously. Students should be made aware that there are not always answers to questions and that teachers may be unable to answer some questions; teachers should endeavour to follow up these questions so that student do not seek answers that may be inaccurate online or elsewhere.

6.2 External agencies
External agencies invited by the College to contribute to the delivery of RSE programme will be vetted using the required safeguarding procedures set out in the College’s Safer Recruitment of Staff Policy, and material will be discussed in advance with the DSL.

7. Training
Ashbourne is committed to facilitating and supporting ongoing education and training of staff in all areas relating to student welfare.

8. Monitoring and evaluation
The DSL is responsible for overseeing the development, monitoring, evaluation and reviewing of the content for RSE. The DSL works in consultation with key members of staff who contribute to and deliver the course to review the programme before the beginning of the academic year and monitor during the course.

9. Policy review
This policy is reviewed annually by the DSL in conjunction with other senior members of staff and shared with students and parents during monthly update webinars that provide an opportunity for feedback.

Authorised by The Principal
Date April 2021
Effective date of the policy April 2021
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2021

Appendix 1: RSE Curriculum – what students should know by the end of the course.
The College aims to deliver a holistic and robust RSE curriculum, which ties together with other related areas such as online safety, safeguarding and student wellbeing. Throughout the course, the College will adhere to the following:

RSE should be taught in a considered ‘safe’ environment and utilise a variety of teaching methods. It should equip young people to:

  • Be able to identify risks and know how to keep themselves safe.
  • Be aware of the law on key areas relating to relationships, sex and abuse.
  • Have clear guidelines on how to access help or advice both within the College and outside.

Student will examine in more depth topics previously covered in PSHEE and RSE which include:

  • Families
  • Healthy relationships, including friendships
  • Online and media awareness
  • Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health
  • Relationships, sex and the law

By the end of the course students should know:

Families

  • that there are different types of committed, stable relationships
  • why marriage is an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be freely entered into
  • the characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships
  • learn how to determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy; judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe (and to recognise this in others’ relationships); and, know how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others, if needed.

Healthy relationships, including friendships

  • the characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (in all contexts, including online) including trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending relationships. This includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship
  • how stereotypes, in particular those based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)
  • that some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control
  • what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable
  • the legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and has the right be treated equally.

Online and media awareness

  • their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, with the understanding that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online
  • about online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online
  • not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them
  • what to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online
  • the impact of viewing harmful content
  • that specifically sexually explicit material e.g. pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners
  • that sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail
  • how information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online.

Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health

  • how to recognise the characteristics and positive aspects of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships, which include mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex and friendship
  • that all aspects of health can be affected by choices they make in sex and relationships, positively or negatively, e.g. physical, emotional, mental, sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing
  • the facts about reproductive health, including fertility, and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women, and menopause
  • that there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others
  • that they have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex
  • the facts about the full range of contraceptive choices, efficacy and options available
  • the facts around pregnancy including miscarriage
  • that there are choices in relation to pregnancy (with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options, including keeping the baby, adoption, abortion and where to get further help)
  • how the different sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDs, are transmitted, how risk can be reduced through safer sex (including through condom use) and the importance of and facts about testing
  • about the prevalence of some STIs, the impact they can have on those who contract them and key facts about treatment
  • how the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviour
  • how to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment.

Relationships, sex and the law
It is important to know what the law says about sex, relationships and young people, as well as broader safeguarding issues, so that students clearly understand what the law permits and does not permit as well as the wider legal implications of decisions students make. It also provides a foundation for deeper discussion about all types of relationships and includes a range of important facts and the rules regarding sharing personal information, pictures, videos and other material using technology.

There are also many different legal provisions whose purpose is to protect young people and which ensure young people take responsibility for their actions. Other relevant aspects of law covered may include, for example: the age of consent; what consent is and is not; definition of rape; sexual assault and harassment; pregnancy and choices permitted; abuse, including peer-on-peer, grooming, exploitation and domestic; neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse within the family; female genital mutilation; forced marriage and honour-based violence.

Appendix 2: Schemes of work (pdf)