Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE)
All students in year 7 to 11 will have relationships, sex and health education (RSHE).
Reason for sequencing the curriculum for every year group in the way it is, and the subject specific/pedagogical approach taken:
RSHE is a space to reflect on personal and academic issues. It is a subject dedicated to the individual student and their wellbeing. It educates students about how to stay safe and how to be an effective learner. It also encourages the skills of independence, teamwork, empathy and decision making. It is not formally assessed but progress is informally tracked through questioning and through the student’s individual resource booklet. The topics below are the ones we will focus on but if students raise concerns or ask for support in other areas, we will also adapt the lessons to address subjects as they come up.
Years 7, 8, 10 and 11 have timetabled RSHE lessons each fortnight. In year 9 some Philosophy Religion and Ethics (PRE) time is given to RSHE to cover careers and options in the autumn term and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in the Spring Term.
Many topics are repeated throughout the 5 years to allow for an increase in depth of thought and to provide reminders on the critical areas of personal safety and wellbeing. Each lesson should begin with a recap of the previous lesson for the benefit of any student who was away and to remind students of previous learning.
It is important in RSHE to come back to the same topics and issues as students get older because we can discuss topics in more depth and answer questions they may have. In year 7 and 8 activities tend to provide facts and create the opportunity for questions. In year 9, 10 and 11 increasingly there is the opportunity to go into more depth, with reading of case studies and scenarios and there are more open discussions as questions arise. This is particularly important for topics such as SRE, Drugs and Alcohol, and Citizenship. An example of progression with the topic of SRE, is that Year 7 would have an introduction to SRE; year 8 looks at recognising healthy relationships; year 9 specifically covers how to keep safe with regard to consent, contraception and STI’s; in year 10 there is a recap of the previous facts and then the unit of work goes into more depth by looking at how to make healthy choices; in Year 11, there is a final look at choices and options available within this topic. With the topic of drugs and alcohol, the facts and where to find help are covered in year 8 whereas in year 10, this is built on by looking at addiction in the wider sense and the effects and consequences of drug abuse. There is also a development of health education from year 7, covering basic issues around keeping healthy, and then year 10 builds on this by focusing on mental health and wellbeing.
The lessons are based around the importance of discussion, encouraging speaking and listening skills. There are group activities to help develop teamwork and leadership skills. Students can record information in an exercise book and they are encouraged to present these in a format of their own choosing. Some will want to be creative with their notes, others might use diagrams and others write in more detail. The books contain the students' personal notes and students are allowed to take their book home at the end of a term.
Work is not formally assessed, however progress can be assessed through regular knowledge testing and by students being able to articulate what they are learning. They can be self-reflective in their books about how they are progressing in terms of the key skills of listening, speaking, critical thinking, respecting opposing views. At times students will write a summary of their learning in their own words and this will demonstrate what they have learned. Teachers can encourage students to share these summaries at the end of a lesson as a plenary or at the start of the next lesson as a recap. The recap ‘3 Q’s’ can be used at the start of lessons to recap basic facts from previous lessons and previous term’s work.
The topics covered are those recommended by the Government in their SRE and Health Education guidelines, as well as topics that students and staff feel are important. Students are consulted on what they study, and their ideas are considered so that the schemes of work are as relevant as possible. For example the Life Skills unit of work in year 11 has been developed after consultation with members of the student council.
Year 7 includes some ICT elements. In the first term students are introduced to the school computer systems and basic IT skills such as using Word, Powerpoint, Excel and saving their work so that they are prepared for using IT in the wider curriculum. In the Summer term they are also introduced to some further ICT and coding skills.
In Key Stage 4 different religious perspectives are also covered in the ethical topics such as SRE, Crime and Addiction as part of our core Key Stage 4 RE entitlement. This is carried out through media clips and discussion and with reference to the various sources of scripture or authority of the religions. There is a focus on contrasting views both between religions and within a religion so that students will understand how religious attitudes can differ despite believers often holding to the same sources of authority.
Students are taught the importance of being respectful in their comments and questions. RSHE lessons should provide a space where students feel safe to ask questions honestly and openly. If anything was raised that was a safeguarding concern then teachers would speak to the school DSL.
How we build on prior learning:
Each year there is an element of SRE. We start in Year 7 with an introduction to SRE. This covers what to expect with bodily changes during puberty, including preparing for menstruation, and how to express emotions and be able to articulate how we are feeling. We also include an introduction to reproduction. We look at friendships in general and what makes for positive relationships with friends and parents. In year 8 we build on this knowledge by looking at some facts and effects of issues around SRE, for example what the law says about sex and consent and a brief introduction to contraception. We also start thinking about what makes relationships healthy or unhealthy and include peer on peer abuse and where to get help. We introduce the idea of gender and sexuality and link it to homophobia and homophobic bullying and grooming. In year 9 a lesson looks at different types of contraception and STI’s. There is time to discuss issues surrounding sex and relationships and there is a condom demonstration where students can learn how to put a condom onto a demonstrator. In year 10 we again build on this knowledge by having a unit of work on making healthy choices with regards to SRE. There is a reminder about consent, contraception and STI’s and then this is developed further, for example, by considering how consent can be affected by alcohol, the definition and legality of sexual abuse and rape; what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, coercion, abuse and harassment, looking at case studies and discuss where to find help where necessary. In year 11 the focus is on looking at choices and options available. For example, we consider the consequences of unprotected sex by looking at the facts surrounding pregnancy and miscarriage and the options a young person might fact including the responsibilities of being a parent, abortion and adoption. Discussion remains impartial for these topics, and it is important to signpost where to find help and support. We also discuss pornography and how the media portrays gender stereotypes.
Another topic that is covered in year 7 and 10 is that of study skills. We start year 7 looking at how to use IT skills, general organisation of time, homework, prioritising, stress management, team work and goal setting. We follow this with an aspirations unit of work. We revisit some of these themes at the start of year 10 in more depth, looking at what makes a successful student; expectations of how to manage a school email account; plagiarism; how to revise and take notes and how to develop independence; reading relevant websites and articles and research skills.
There is further recap and interleaving with the topic of drugs and alcohol. We introduce some facts and discussion about drugs and alcohol in year 8 but then go into this in more depth in year 10 by looking at the effects of addiction more generally on the mind and body and for the effects on the wider society with links to crime.
There are elements of citizenship that are present in year 8 and 10 in particular. Year 8 explore what it means to be British, reading different websites and manifestos to find out what political parties there are and looking at the topic of human rights and discrimination. In year 10 we come back to the theme of citizenship by looking at crime and punishment, extremism and radicalisation and Prevent, hate crimes and the protected characteristics and knife crime.
Health and Wellbeing is also a link throughout the RSHE curriculum. In year 7, as well as the relationships unit of work, there is one specifically looking at healthy eating, diet, exercise and body image. It is also an opportunity to briefly educate about FGM and also illness, such as cancer. In year 8 the relationships and drugs units of work look at the effects of these on the mind and body. In year 10 we have a unit of work on Mental Health and Wellbeing which is very relevant in the lead up to mocks and exams. We look at stress, eating disorders and body image together with how to identify and support those with mental health illnesses. In year 11 there are lessons on the importance of keeping healthy, sexual health, self-examination and cancer awareness.
Our core PRE builds on what students have studied in Key Stage 3 PRE. In year 9 students will have studied some ethical theories with regard to abortion, capital punishment and animal testing. At Key Stage 4 we then develop this by looking at the views of religious believers on sex outside of marriage, contrasting views on abortion and attitudes to criminals such as reform, forgiveness or retribution. This is mainly covered through discussion and debate as well as showing relevant media clips that portray the different religious perspectives and referring to the sources of scripture or authority of that religion. These topics are further developed as part of the GCSE religious studies course for those who take it as an option subject.
With regard to careers, in year 7 we have an aspirations project to start students thinking about what they want to do in their lives, both socially and as a career. In year 9 we have a careers/options lesson so that students can start thinking about their future, the variety of jobs and careers, and what subjects they might need to think about studying. In year 10 we follow this up with a unit of work on careers, writing CV’s, preparing for work experience, writing formal letters and preparing for interviews.
How we prepare students for the future:
Everything we do in RSHE is about preparing students for the future. We encourage students to develop the skills of independence to help them with their studies so that they will be successful in life. We help them to develop research and study skills, give guidance with revision and help them with their preparation for exams. We regularly discuss future careers and help students prepare for their working lives by researching career choices and qualifications needed, supporting them with the skills to make successful applications and interviews, and provide some guidance on life skills in year 11, such as looking at budgeting, debt, credit cards, loans and other financial considerations.
Students are taught IT skills from year 7 so that they can use computer software and understand how and where to save their work, which supports the wider curriculum and provides a good foundation for any computer based work they will need to do in the future. They are also introduced to some computational thinking, coding and problem solving activities which will be useful for those who would like a career in computing or coding in the future. They are taught about appropriate use of email in year 10 which provides them with skills needed for applying for future jobs or colleges.
We help students consider how to keep themselves safe in terms of drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, mental health, so that they can be healthy and happy in the future. We always offer guidance so that students are confident on how to seek help where needed.
We also help prepare students for their future career by encouraging them to raise their aspirations, give students space to consider and research their future options and find out how they can get there, what colleges might be suitable and what qualifications they need to achieve the career they are interested in.
Our core PRE programme prepares students to understand different religious perspectives on a range of issues they might encounter in life and gives them a better understanding of different religious views for when they might meet or work alongside people of different religious background to themselves.
Additional provision to support learning:
We try to provide a number of trips to universities for students in year 10. These visits include St Catharine’s College in Cambridge and the University of Suffolk, and there are also opportunities for students to visit local colleges. We also try to get speakers in to school to raise awareness of opportunities for higher education and future careers.
Stradbroke High School has a leadership programme which runs from year 7 to year 11 and which encourages students to take part in activities to develop their leadership skills. We also have a student council where students can come and have a forum to present and discuss ideas about how to improve the school. This is led by the senior student body.