We believe that promoting the health and well-being of our pupils is an important part of their overall education. One approach at DBIS we use is through our Learning for Life Programme (LFL). This looks at many topics including all kinds of relationships, physical/emotional health and living in the wider world. The aim of the Learning for Life course is to help our pupils make safe and informed decisions during their school years and beyond.
Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE) is an important part of the LFL course. We teach lessons about RSE in Early Years and Primary during Term 3 and throughout different parts of the school year in Secondary. Due to the recent COVID-19 closures, within the 2020/21 academic year, we will also be teaching some content in Term 1 to ensure our students have the recommended coverage.
The Primary School objectives are to provide a critical foundation for learners while exploring attitudes to help young people shape their understanding of themselves, and the world to better understand their body terminology. As students approach Year 5, the content of lessons starts to explore Puberty, Body Image and, in Year 6, the knowledge of reproduction. At the same time, skills such as communication, listening, refusal, decision-making and negotiation; interpersonal; critical-thinking; building self-awareness; developing empathy; accessing reliable information or services; challenging stigma and discrimination; and advocating for rights are also being explored.
The forthcoming lessons will cover in age-appropriate knowledge and understanding:
6.1 Sexual and Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology
Key idea: Everyone’s body has parts involved in one’s health and reproduction, and it is common for children to have questions about them.
Learners will be able to:
▶ describe the body parts involved with sexual health and reproduction (knowledge);
▶ acknowledge that it is normal to be curious and have questions about their bodies and sexual functions (attitudinal);
▶ acknowledge that everyone’s body is unique and that variations exist in size, shape, functioning and characteristics (attitudinal);
▶ identify a trusted adult to whom they can ask questions, and demonstrate ways to ask about sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology (skill).
Key idea: Puberty signals changes in a person’s reproductive capability
Learners will be able to:
▶ describe the process of puberty and the maturation of the sexual and reproductive system (knowledge);
▶ list the major physical and emotional changes that take place during puberty (knowledge);
▶ demonstrate ways to find credible information about puberty (skill).
Key idea: During puberty, hygiene is important to keep one’s sexual and reproductive anatomy clean and healthy Learners will be able to:
▶ describe personal hygiene and sanitation practices (knowledge);
▶ appreciate the importance of personal hygiene (attitudinal);
▶ apply their understanding of hygiene to a personal plan for staying healthy while growing up (skill).
Key idea: Menstruation is a normal and natural part of a girls’ physical development and should not be treated with secrecy or stigma
Learners will be able to:
▶ describe the menstrual cycle and identify the various physical symptoms and feelings that girls may experience during this time (knowledge);
▶ describe how to access, use and dispose of sanitary pads and other menstrual aids (knowledge).
During the course, pupils will be able to ask questions, which will be answered factually and in an age appropriate manner. Each pupil’s privacy will be respected, and no one will be asked to reveal personal information.
Parents can withdraw their children from SRE if they wish to do so. However, we believe that the presentation of sexual images in social and other media make it important that all young people have a place to discuss pressures, check facts and dispel myths. Even if a child is withdrawn, many pupils will discuss such issues with each other outside the classroom – so, rather than hear about the content second-hand, we hope all children will have the opportunity to take part in our carefully planned lessons.
Many parents and parent-related organisations support good quality RSE in school. Parents are the most important educators of young people in personal issues and many welcome the support that school can offer to supplement their home teaching.
You may find that your child starts asking questions about the topic at home, or you might want to take the opportunity to talk to your child about issues before the work is covered in school. If you have any queries about the content of the programme or resources used, please do not hesitate in contacting the school. All materials used are available for you to browse through should you so wish.
Further information regarding the content of the progressive RSE curriculum will be shared by Jason Broderick, Head of Wellbeing, during a parent workshop in Term 1. If before then you wish to enquire please feel free to contact him on [email protected]
Rachel Ashcroft and Alison Hones
Year Group Leaders for Years 5 and 6