What is it? RSHE stands for Relationships, Sex & Health Education. Relationships and health are usually covered in 'PSHE' lessons, in general everyday classroom learning, in assemblies and sometimes in science (e.g healthy eating). Increasingly, learning about online safety touches on these issues also. Sex education is part of the science curriculum, and parts of PSHE too. All of these areas are cross-curricular but could be broadly grouped under the umbrella of 'Life Skills'.
What's changing? All aspects are existing parts of the primary school curriculum which are taught at Worstead, but the government is keen to streamline and set standards for this nationally. The thinking is, that it is better that what is going to be taught is agreed by everyone and delivered consistently across all schools, rather than children finding out this kind of crucial life skill and knowledge from friends at high school or older brothers or sisters, or having different levels of knowledge depending on their home background or the primary school they attended. Therefore in September 2020, RSHE will become a statutory area of study. Sex education will still be able to be opted out of, although as now, if this is chosen by parents/carers, they are obliged to meet the headteacher of the school to discuss the implications of this and ensure that they are aware of the negative effect it could have if a child has a different level of learning in this area from their peers. There is also a safeguarding dimension to be considered. The elements of sex education that are part of the teaching of science cannot be opted out of - these are every child's entitlement under the National Curriculum.
How are we preparing? Worstead School is busy preparing for this change, and aligning what we currently offer with what is set out in the government's RHSE guidance. We do not wish to reinvent the wheel, and the vast majority of Norfolk schools will be following the same local and national guidance as we do. In order to start the process, staff will firstly have training from a high quality national adviser, and then the process will be managed by Mrs Michael and Mrs Cuss who are jointly leading this project.
What's the next step? A parents' consultation took place on Thursday 22nd January 2020, also attended by governors, in which we explained what RSHE is all about, and did a bit of myth-busting and reassuring at the same time. As a C of E school, the governors, staff and parents may keep or omit certain optional parts of the local recommended RSHE curriculum, although the vast majority will be mandatory. We expect to agree a school RSHE policy shortly and begin the transition into a combined RSHE subject rather than a mixture of separate elements of statutory and non-statutory practice.