Relationships, sex and health education
Educating children and young people about healthy behaviours is important to help them to be safe, healthy and happy. From September 2020, all schools must teach Relationships Education and Health Education, with secondary schools required to teach Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). This applies to all schools, including academies, free schools, independent schools, faith schools and schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges to schools during this time, the Department for Education have revised their guidance to state that schools should start teaching to the new guidance from that date if they meet the statutory requirements. If they are not ready, or are unable to meet the requirements, they should begin teaching by at least the start of the summer term 2021.
Many schools are already providing excellent teaching in these subjects. Newcastle City Council is working hard with its partners in health and the voluntary sector to support schools to get ready to teach the new guidance from September. Training and workshops for teachers and a ‘Gold Standard for RSE’ will help support the great teaching that is already taking place.
RSE helps children and young people to build healthy relationships, stay safe both on and offline, understand the world in which they are growing up, as well as understanding the importance of equality, empathy and respect for each other, despite our differences. As the first ever local authority to be named Stonewall’s number one employer for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) inclusion, Newcastle City Council are committed to equality and fairness and welcomes an LGBT-inclusive curriculum that teaches children about all of the different types of loving, healthy relationships and families that exist in our society. This will be delivered in the context of teaching about life in modern Britain and helping children and young people to understand and empathise with different faith and non-faith perspectives on healthy relationships. We recognise that when pupils and staff feel comfortable, understood and safe from bullying, they will learn much better and be much happier at school.
Talking to your child about relationships and growing up
Most parents and carers fully support schools providing relationships and sex education and also have an important part to play in talking to their children at home about relationships, feelings, growing up and sex.
Children and young people have a right to access accurate information, support and advice on puberty, at a timely point for their age, maturity and development. They need this before they start going through these changes, so they know what to expect.
Puberty can be a tricky time for children and young people. Support from parents and carers can help children navigate puberty with confidence, reducing embarrassment and emotional upset.
We appreciate that talking about puberty can be difficult. With schools currently opening in different ways and coping with the huge demands placed on them by the Covid-19 pandemic, Newcastle City Council's Public Health Team have produced a resource to help parents and carers talk to their children about puberty, with links to useful websites for you to find more information and advice about how to have those conversations. The resource material can be accessed here.
Did you know?
Newcastle City Council's Public Health Team have produced a resource to help parents and carers talk to their children about puberty, with links to useful websites for you to find more information and advice about how to have those conversations. The resource material can be accessed here.
Need more information?
Department for Education guides for parents on understanding what will be taught in relationships and health education in primary schools and relationships, sex and health education in secondary schools. The guides are available in English, Arabic, Somali and Urdu.
If you are a teacher, teaching assistant or other school staff involved in RSE or RSHE, the Newcastle Healthy Schools website has some useful guidance and resources for teaching RSE and relationships education (see 'Healthy Lifestyle Issues' section, then 'Relationships and Sexual Health')