Introduction to RHSE at St Matthew's
In 2020, the Department for Education introduced a new compulsory curriculum for Relationship and Sex Education. In his introduction to the statutory guidance for the new curriculum, the Secretary of State for Education wrote the following:
“In primary schools, we want the subjects to put in place the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online. This will sit alongside the essential understanding of how to be healthy.
Teaching about mental wellbeing is central to these subjects, especially as a priority for parents is their children’s happiness…The new subject content will give them the knowledge and capability to take care of themselves and receive support if problems arise. All of this content should support the wider work of schools in helping to foster pupil wellbeing and develop resilience and character that we know are fundamental to pupils being happy, successful and productive members of society”.
This is an area where St Matthew's has always been at the cutting edge of curriculum development. We took the opportunity to further develop our curriculum and policy to reflect the changes in guidance. Our process began with a consultation that took place during 2021. We surveyed parents and carers to gather views on a draft policy and curriculum framework. We used the outcomes from the survey to make some revisions and clarifications to the policy and framework with a help of a working party that included parents and carers who were self-nominated through the survey. This also helped us develop a useful "question and answers" to address queries that parents and carers raised.
For the most part, the new guidance reflected our existing curriculum. There were some new topics, for example the teaching of some basic first aid, and a greater emphasis than before on online safety and healthy relationships, all of which we welcomed. We took the opportunity to bring together some of the other aspects of our curriculum that we had been developing over the previous years. This included our work on values, mindfulness, some aspects of CBT and Thinking Traps. We also tied in other areas of curriculum development to ensure our curriculum and resources are reflective of the protected characteristics listed in the 2010 Equalities Act, such as gender, disability, race, religion, culture and sexuality.
As stated above, virtually all of the curriculum is statutory - this means that we have to teach it and children have to be in the lessons. In the curriculum overview you can see in which year groups we teach the different statements from the curriculum. (Note that parents and carers do have the right to withdraw their child from the non-statutory lessons relating to sex education in Year 6 that can be found under the "Changing Adolescent Bodies" area of the curriculum. However, we strongly recommend that children take part in these lessons - this is the age where children begin to ask questions and talk about these matters and it is important that children develop a proper understanding from a reliable source of information so that they do not begin to develop misconceptions).
In this section of our website you can find:
- Our curriculum map showing when we propose to teach the lessons to address the different statements from the Relationship and Sex Education Statutory Guidance
- Our RSHE Policy and the Department for Education's Statutory Guidance for RSHE
- Our "Question and Answers" document about our policy and curriculum.