RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education)
Relationships and health education comes under the umbrella of our personal, social and emotional development in school. As early adopters of the new statutory curriculum, we taught the full expected new curriculum from September 2019. Within this weekly lesson pupils are taught about life in the wider world, health and wellbeing, and relationships, as well as PSHE units on economic wellbeing, careers and enterprise and assessing and managing personal safety.
We are incredibly proud of the personal and social development, within our ‘hidden’ curriculum, that holds equal importance to academic success in each of our pupils. We feel primary school should be just as much about the kind of people we want to be, and that our academic success gives us more opportunities for how we progress that in future.
Leadership and intent of RSHE at West Rainton
As headteacher of West Rainton Primary School, I am incredibly proud to lead on our RSHE provision. Who our pupils are as people is just as important to me as the grades they get, and our RSHE curriculum allows us to enhance that even further with formal, structured lessons.
How RSHE supports and promotes our overarching curriculum key drivers:
We want our pupils to be inspired by our provision, and to ignite strong aspirations and high expectations of themselves and their future. Promotion of strong attendance is fundamental in this. Through the use of visits, visitors and enriching experiences, we will build knowledge and understanding of career possibilities as well as a hunger to embrace new and exciting opportunities. We will ensure we plan regular opportunities for children to develop self-belief and to see the benefits of taking risks and overcoming challenge. Our pupils will be supported to light up future pathways to fulfilling lives of employment choices, prosperity and future happiness. In RSHE, our curriculum is based around the values of empowering children to know what they want, need and deserve in life. They discuss the importance of striking a balance between holding high expectations of themselves and others, whilst managing feelings and knowing how, when and where to seek support in order to maximise their potential.
Skills for learning and life
We want pupils to leave our school with a bank of knowledge and a skillset specific to each individual subject, whilst also making transferable connections across other areas of learning and life. Fundamental to this, is a curriculum rich in core skills of language, vocabulary, communication, literacy and numeracy. Our pupils will be taught to be inquisitive, follow a line of enquiry to reach answers, and to recall and present their learning in a vibrant range of ways. Opportunities to develop resilience, organisation, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, patience and initiative are all interwoven into our subjects and wider school life in order for our children to adjust to new learning situations. RSHE teaches us empathy, emotional intelligence, social communication skills as well as an abundance of knowledge around safety and wellbeing. Due to the nature of discussing our worldviews, in line with our class agreements, pupils are equipped with the confidence and skills to debate, challenge and support each other’s’ opinions. They invariably work with different people each session, which fosters adaptability and assertiveness.
Equally as important to us is the development of the whole child. Feeling safe, happy and valued is a fundamental right of all pupils. Our inclusive-rich ethos provides the backdrop to our personal development and wellbeing provision which is skilfully interwoven into all that we do. All pupils are supported to develop a strong understanding of the importance of good physical and mental health, whilst also learning a whole range of factors and influences that can have a negative impact on us. Making, nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships, both on and offline, equips children with the strength and security to recognise what they want and need in life. We believe a strong understanding of e-safety forms a crucial part of being a healthy, well-rounded 21st century global citizen. We are proud that our RSHE teaching and learning transcends the subject into our whole school ethos, underpinning all that we do. Pupils are taught about safety in the sun, water, at home, on the roads, online, as well as first aid, emergency situations, healthy relationships, consent in all forms, and sexual harassment.
Knowledge of the world
When our pupils leave us at the end of Y6, we want them to feel so proud of themselves as people that they have the personal strength and self-confidence to find their place as positive global citizens. Through our carefully-planned provision, our pupils will experience a diverse and inclusive-rich experience that allows them to bank cultural capital as well as developing a secure understanding of the importance of equality. As well as a secure knowledge of British values, our pupils will have their minds and horizons broadened through diverse social, moral, spiritual and cultural experiences. Pupils will be regularly encouraged to revisit and extend their world-view, fostering tolerance, sensitivity and empathy to interact positively with others. RSHE experiences broaden our children’s world view as we work through a diverse and broad curriculum built around the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act of 2010, and the UN charter of children’s rights. This fosters confidence to challenge discrimination, sexism, homophobia and prejudice which is inclusive to all children and young people. Through this, pupils are able to see differences and similarities in how pupils of their age live all over the world. Our pupils also consider the global priorities which will impact and feature in any future career, such as the climate crisis and net zero targets.
The content of our RSHE curriculum has been mapped out carefully after extensive local authority-led training for subject leads. Whole-school staff training was carried out over three twilight sessions in 2019. Full governing body training was held in late spring 2019 and the evaluation of our pilot year remains a termly agenda item for our curriculum committee. Our policy and mapping was created over a year of consultation with parents, staff and pupils, alongside a small sub-committee of our governing body meeting termly to evaluate our progress.
You can see the subject policy and curriculum mapping for RSHE here:
How RSHE is taught at West Rainton
Children at West Rainton Primary receive 40 minutes of specific RSHE activities in two 20-minute sessions per week. Each term, the entire school, from our nursery two-year-olds to our year six pupils, cover objectives from the same overarching theme. This enables us to carry out whole-school activities such as assemblies, projects or events with a common theme. It also allows the subject lead to monitor delivery and progression in a clear and seamless way.
In 2020/21 academic year, RSHE formed an even more integral part of our curriculum as we worked to minimise the impact of a global pandemic on our children. Extensive curriculum planning took place in June/July 2020 to ensure all staff were able to report on the knowledge of their current classes and individual challenges as well as the provision they felt needed to be in place for the coming year. To that end, our RSHE timetable was restructured to put well-being as the priority unit in the autumn term of 2020. Additional opportunities such as a ‘My school, My planet’ project and our ongoing Relax Kids provision enhanced the mental well-being support for our pupils on their return to school.
For some pupils with special educational needs, the RSHE curriculum can provide an additional support into personal and social development as it allows us all to explore our emotions and to verbalise our wants and needs. The curriculum in our school, fosters a safe forum and the opportunities to discuss our vulnerabilities, and our rights and responsibilities in staying safe and finding our voice. Some pupils may require additional support to understand some aspects of the curriculum and this would be carefully planned through discussion with the school SENDCo and the parents/carers of the child.
RHE does not always fit into neat little 20-minute lessons, however. After all, our pupils are continuously developing their social, moral, spiritual and cultural skills and knowledge across all aspects of school. Our teaching staff skilfully maximise these opportunities to demonstrate to our children how this progress is a constant within their lives.
The school makes regular use of wider partnerships and community to support the teaching of RSHE, such as working alongside health professionals, business partners and those who help to keep us safe.
Evidence scrapbooks in each class demonstrate the journey our children go on throughout their primary years. The children are very proud of their input into these documents. In 2020/21 these scrapbooks will also be used to evidence the revisiting of objectives missed during the partial closure in line with consistent school marking and feedback policy.
The impact of RSHE at West Rainton
It is very important to us that our children know why we teach what we do. As part of this, we try to foster a growing awareness of where the subject can progress to in terms of secondary and further education and potential career paths.
The subject of RSHE, and the skills learnt within it, are fundamental to all aspects of future life. It sets the foundations for being a well-rounded citizen with a strong sense of self-awareness and the confidence and empowerment to voice our wants and needs in life. Being able to do this for ourselves, also makes us more aware of the interactions between ourselves and others. No matter which career we choose in future, the skills we develop within this subject, will be an integral factor.
Particular careers where this would be significant would be the health and care sector working in any role that supports other people’s safety and wellbeing.
Below, you can see just a few examples of our RHE provision: