Relationships and Sex Education

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"A person's rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use"

                                                                                         St Pope John Paul II

Relationships and Sex Education at St. Damian’s

At St Damian’s, we aim to educate the whole child spiritually, physically, intellectually, morally, socially, culturally and emotionally and we believe that relationships and sex education [RSE] is an integral part of this education. RSE is delivered as part of our core curriculum to all pupils from Years 7 to 9 by a team of teachers who deliver PSHE. In Years 10 and 11, lessons are delivered by form tutors; those who have well developed and secure relationships with the pupils. RSE is also delivered through form times, assemblies and ASPIRE Days.

Parents & Carers

St Damian’s is clear that parents and carers are the prime educators for children on many of these matters. St Damian’s complements and reinforces this role and builds on and extends the knowledge that pupils have learned at home. RSE incorporates three main elements: attitudes and values, personal and social skills, and knowledge and understanding. All RSE is in accordance with the Church’s moral teaching. It emphasises the central importance of marriage and the family whilst acknowledging that all pupils have a fundamental right to have their lifestyle respected, whatever household they come from and support is provided to help pupils deal with different sets of values.

Parents are able to access the curriculum content in the PSHE Curriculum Overviews on the website. Parents have been consulted on the content of the RSE curriculum and are able to get in touch with school in the usual way should they wish to discuss any aspect of the RSE curriculum in further detail. DfE statutory guidance states that from September 2020, all schools must deliver relationships and sex education. The parental right to withdraw pupils from RSE remains in secondary education, for aspects of sex education which are not part of the Science curriculum.

Curriculum Content

Our RSE curriculum gives our pupils the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds. It enables them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and have successful marriages or other types of committed relationship. We define ‘relationships and sex education’ to involve the forming and maintenance of family, friendships and more intimate relationships both online and in person with consideration of boundaries and health. We believe relationships and sex education is important for our pupils and our school because it supports pupils throughout life, to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy relationships, at the appropriate time. 

Catholic Values

At St. Damian’s, our programme enshrines Catholic values relating to the importance of stable relationships, marriage and family life. It also promotes those virtues which are essential in responding to the God’s call to love others with a proper respect for their dignity and the dignity of the human body. As a school we teach our distinctive faith perspective on relationships and encourage balanced debate about issues that are seen as contentious will be encouraged. Teaching reflects the law (including the Equality Act 2010) as it applies to relationships, so that young people clearly understand what the law allows and does not allow, and the wider legal implications of decisions they may make.

Our RSE policy fulfils our school ethos by giving pupils the information to challenge stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, as well as being able to tackle difficulties life may bring with resilience and an awareness to the wide range of support available to them. We aim to help pupils to realise the nature and consequences of bullying (including cyber-bullying) as well as developing healthy coping mechanisms which will enable them to build and maintain strong relationships throughout their life. 

 

Teaching & Learning in RSE

At St. Damian’s, the teaching and learning in RSE is sensitive, age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate for all pupils including those with SEND and reflects the values of our school community. As a result of our RSE programme of learning, pupils will: 

  • Know and understand the respect for the dignity of every human being

  • Take responsibility for their own actions and recognise the impact of these on others

  • Recognise and value their own sexual identity and that of others

  • Make sound and informed judgements which are respectful of the wishes of all parties involved

  • Develop the skills of forming friendships and loving, stable relationships free from exploitation, abuse and bullying

  • Self-regulate emotions without resorting to unhealthy coping strategies and know where and how to seek out support if needed

  • Manage conflict positively, recognising the value of difference

  • Develop self-esteem and confidence, demonstrating self-respect and empathy for others

  • Build resilience and the ability to resist unwanted pressures, recognising the influence and impact of the media, internet and peer groups and so developing the ability to assess pressures and respond appropriately

  • Communicate assertively and honestly within a relationship and recognise the appropriate stages in the development of relationships

 

Cross-curricular Dimension

RSE is a whole school priority at St. Damian’s and topics are also covered in other subjects, for example, in Drama where pupils explore ‘Happy Families’ studying different types of behaviour within relationships. In History, pupils look at gender stereotypes and issues surrounding race are discussed. RE focuses on marriage, morality and ethics and the sanctity of life. In Science, pupils learn about the physical changes during puberty, human reproduction and fertility.

Staff CPD

Following the publication of the new RSE guidelines by the DfE, staff at St. Damian’s have taken part in training on the delivery of RSE lessons. The training updated staff on the statutory requirements, the expected curriculum content, the effective planning and delivery of RSE as well as the evolving language and terminology used by young people to refer to sex and relationships. This has empowered staff to deliver a programme that builds pupils’ self-esteem and raises their confidence to discuss sensitive matters.

Recent Activities

  • We have recently purchased some brand-new books which are available to any pupil wishing to deepen their knowledge on RSE topics.

  • Information on topics such as puberty, friendships, and mental health are now available for pupils in Rm 19. 

  • As part of ‘Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week’, pupils have shared positive affirmations and studied five ways to promote mental and emotional well-being. Pupils have been made aware of how they can access further support

  • During the recent ASPIRE Days, Y7 attended a session on puberty, Y9 attended a presentation on relationships and domestic abuse by Bridges as well as a talk on sexual harassment delivered by Tough Cookies whilst Y10 pupils attended sessions on sexting and consent as well as a presentation on LGBTQ+ delivered by Kooth.

 

Parental Information:

If parents wish to carry out further reading around RSE, the following document may be of use:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education-faqs?utm_source=2b45920e-083a-44ad-9c3f-16fed9168d3f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate