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Relationships, Sex Educations _ Health Education Policy

Co-op Academy North Manchester

Relationships, Sex Education and Health Education Policy

Policy details


  • The Co-op Academy North Manchester believes that Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education makes an essential contribution to every pupil’s health, wellbeing and preparation for life in society. This policy enables the academy to achieve its statutory duty which comes into effect from 2020.
  • Effective relationships, sex education and health education is essential if young people can make responsible and well informed decisions about their lives. Our guiding principles are that content must be age and developmentally appropriate.  It must be taught sensitively and inclusively with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents/carers whilst always with the aim of providing pupils with the knowledge they need of the law.
  • A comprehensive programme of RSE and Health Education provides accurate information on the body, reproduction, sex, sexual health, sexuality and consent. It also gives young people essential skills to build positive, enjoyable, respectful and non-exploitative healthy relations and staying safe both on and offline. It is an integral part of the PSHE and SMSC Curriculum.  Relationships and sex education are compulsory and is a statutory subject. It also builds on what pupils have learnt at Primary School.
  • Teaching about mental wellbeing is central to these subjects and the academy’s vision of pupils leading happy and successful lives.
  • Central to this policy is the pupil's ability to believe they can achieve goals, stick to tasks and recover from challenges they may face.
  • This policy is underpinned by the Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education Regulations 2019 which makes RSE and Health Education compulsory in secondary schools.
  • The Head of PSHE/Citizenship will take overall ownership of the curriculum content and the academy will appoint an SLT member to oversee the delivery of this curriculum. It is acknowledged that this includes other subjects such as Science, PE and IT.
  • The academy will work to ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents/carers and our community.

       Aims and Objectives

  • To endorse the entitlement of all the academy to sex and relationship education.
  • To encourage the capacity to make decisions in managing relationships so that choices are informed, responsible and appropriate and minimise any risks to the individual.
  • To discuss, openly, moral values and explore those held by different cultures and groups.
  • To encourage honesty and respect in all relationships and nurture sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others.
  • To prepare pupils adequately for adult life: its decisions, responsibilities, experiences and opportunities and to teach the taking on of responsibility and the consequences of one’s actions in relation to sexual activity and parenthood.
  • To help equip pupils to develop fully as emotionally mature human beings.
  • To present the biological facts about sex, reproduction, contraception and sexually   transmitted diseases in an objective and balanced manner.
  • To help pupils distinguish between fact and opinion in relation to relationship issues
  • To equip pupils with an understanding of the law surrounding relationships and sex  and to have a knowledge of their rights regarding relationships and sex.
  • To promote understanding of the emotional and physical changes related to puberty and develop and raise self-esteem.
  • To understand the laws around sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, harassment and domestic abuse.
  • To investigate strategies to enable pupils to become accountable for their own behaviour.
  • To understand what consent means, how to both give it and recognise it in others.
  • To consider the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of family planning; the need for preventative healthcare and the availability of support for relationships from organisations such as Relate and Brook.
  • To teach about relationships, love and care and the responsibilities of parenthood as well as sex.
  • To ensure that appropriate guidance and support is given to any staff delivering RSE in school and that effective links with external agencies are established and maintained.
  • To focus on both genders equally.
  • To link sex and relationship education with issues of peer pressure and other risk-taking behaviour, such as drugs, smoking and alcohol.
  • To specify the right of parents/carers to withdraw their child from all or part of RSE education.
  • To encourage honesty and respect in all relationships and nurture sensitivity and consideration of others’ feelings.
  • To develop an understanding of the legal issues surround sex and sexuality and avoid being exploited or exploiting others, or being pressured into unwanted or unprotected sex.  (This includes discussing child sexual exploitation and consent)
  • The academy also seeks to educate pupils on how to use the internet and social media discriminatingly.  For example, how some websites collect data and target individuals, how social media may not always portray the truth and can be hugely exaggerated.  In addition, we will educate our pupils that criminals can operate online scams, use fake websites or emails to extort money and personal information.
  • To be proactive in tackling local and national issues such as sexual violence and sexual harrassment.
  • To react to emerging issues to ensure pupils have access to the latest information and guidance.
  • To develop bespoke programmes to tackle issues such as sexual harassment and bullying so that these are never tolerated and work is done with pupils to address this.

       What is Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education

  • RSE is part of lifelong learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships and sexual mental and physical health. It contributes to the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students and prepares them for the experiences, rights and responsibilities of adult life.

Organisation and Implementation

  • Relationships and sex education and health education is not an isolated subject. It permeates the whole school curriculum, the ethos of the school, and the pastoral system.  Many subjects, but particularly science, religious studies, PSHE, PE and ICT explore some elements of sex and relationship education and health education.  
  • Much of the relationships and sex education takes place within PSHE lessons, assemblies or in drop-down sessions. PSHE and citizenship are taught by a team of specialist teachers, led by the Head of Citizenship and PSHE, with support from professionals where appropriate.  
  • RSE lessons are set within the wider context of the PSHE curriculum and focus more on the emotional aspects of development and relationships, although the physical aspects of puberty and reproduction are also included. Education on sensitive and specialist topics such as child exploitation, consent, honour based violence and female genital mutilation are all covered, but are taught by a subject specialist, often from an outside organisation (such as Brook) who are qualified to answer questions posed by the pupils.
  • Pupils explore RSE in a way that is relevant and sensitive to all sexualities and irrespective of gender.  
  • The science curriculum is delivered by the science department. These lessons are more concerned with the physical aspects of development and reproduction.  
  • The religious studies curriculum is delivered by religious studies teachers.  These lessons focus on the social aspect of RSE including, for example, the role and function of marriage within different religious groups. Matters such as child-rearing and sexuality are considered as well.  
  • Any RSE lesson may consider questions or issues that some students will find sensitive. Before embarking on these lessons ground rules are established which prohibit inappropriate personal information being requested or disclosed by those taking part in the lesson.
  • When students ask questions, we aim to answer them honestly, within the ground rules established at the start of the sessions and our school values. When it is felt that answering a specific question would involve information at a level inappropriate to the development of the rest of the students, the question may be dealt with individually at another time.  
  • During years 7 to 9 students will receive relationship and sex education through the PSHE curriculum, in particular exploring:
  • Relationships: friends and families, marriage, and civil partnerships, positive and negative ways of attracting attention
  • Health services  
  • Sexual relationships: law, consent, contraception  
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Child sexual exploitation  
  • Human Trafficking  and anti-slavery
  • Sex, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation  
  • E-safety in relation to relationships.  
  • Abuse in relationships  
  • Social media and its impact on relationships
  • Anti-bullying including cyber bullying
  • Aspects of health education covered include:
  • During years 10 and 11 students build upon the knowledge and concepts learnt in years 7 to 9. However, these are explored in a deeper manner, considering not only the personal impact of the issues concerned but also the impact of wider societal responses to relationships and sex. For example, exploring in greater depth the impact social media has had upon the expectations within relationships. This encompasses a range of aspects relating to RSE. In Years 10 and 11 RSE is delivered through discrete lessons once a fortnight. Forming one of the modules covered in Year 10 and one in Year 11. Other topics covered during years 10 and 11 include:  Parenting and Contraception  
  • Consent – what can impact upon it, attitudes to attracting attention.  
  • Sexual Health  
  • Exploitation  
  • Pornography – what it is and the law
  • Health education is delivered through PSHE lessons, PE, Science and Technology at KS3 and mainly during PSHE and PE in KS4.
  • The SENDCo will work with the relevant staff to make sure that aspects of RSE and Health Education are accessible for all.
  • Teaching will reflect the law including the Equality Act as it applies to relationships, so that young people understand what the law does and does not allow. The academy is aware of the preparing for adulthood outcomes set out in the SEND code of practice when teaching pupils with SEND.  If necessary, content will be tailored.
  • Other external websites may be recommended to pupils.
  • The academy will pay due regard to taking positive action, where it can be shown that it is proportionate; to deal with particular disadvantages affecting one group because of a protected characteristic.  The academy will work to foster healthy and respectful peer to peer communication and behaviour challenging any perceived limits due to particular characteristics.
  • The academy will continue to be aware of issues which exist such as everyday sexism, misogyny, homophobia and gender stereotypes and take positive action to build a culture where these are not tolerated and any occurrences are both identified and tackled.  Other policies will be referenced should any issues occur, including the SHSV policy and anti-bullying policy.
  • The academy will teach LGBT content within the curriculum.


  • Teachers cannot offer or guarantee absolute confidentiality in some matters and students will be made aware of this. The academy is aware that effective relationships and sex education can lead to the disclosure of a child protection/safeguarding issue and this will be acted on in accordance with the school’s Safeguarding Policy. Students will be informed of the sources of confidential help available which currently include the school counsellor, pastoral staff, the school nurse and local advice centres.

         Parents' Right of Withdrawal

  • Parents/Carers have the right to withdraw their children from sex education with RSE only. Parents/carers do not have the right to withdraw their children from the teaching of the biological aspects of human growth and reproduction. Should a parent/carer wish to withdraw their child from the sex education part of the RSE curriculum, they should put this request in writing to the Principal.
  • The Principal will then discuss with parents/carers, and the pupil to ensure their wishes are understood and to clarify the nature and purpose of the curriculum.  Meeting notes will be taken.
  • Once these discussions have taken place, except in exceptional circumstances, the academy will request the parents’ request to withdraw the child up to and until 3 terms before they turn 16.  After that point, the child’s wishes will be followed.
  • There is no right to withdraw from Relationship or Health Education

         Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing

  • The aim of teaching pupils about physical health and mental wellbeing is to give them the information that they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing. It should enable them to recognise what is normal and what is an issue in themselves and others and, when issues arise, know how to seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources.
  • The academy acknowledges that physical and mental health are interlinked and that pupils should be taught the importance of both. The academy also acknowledges the importance of a strong behaviour and attitudes to learning culture in order to enable pupils to succeed. For example, teaching and supporting pupils to respond calmly and relationally to setbacks and challenges.
  • Through the teaching of this area, the academy seeks to reduce any stigma attached to health issues and to engender a culture that encourages openness where pupils feel able to talk about their physical and mental health.
  • Pupils will be taught about menstruation including facts about the menstrual cycle including what is an average period, range of menstrual products and the implications for emotional and physical health.  In addition to the curriculum content, the academy also makes sanitary products available free of charge to all pupils.
  • Pupils will be taught the importance of being able to make well informed and positive choices for themselves.  They should understand how their bodies are changing, how they are feeling and why, to further develop the language that they use to talk about their bodies, health and emotions and to understand why terms associated with mental and physical health difficulties should not be used pejoratively. This knowledge should enable pupils to understand where normal variations in emotions and physical complaints end and health and wellbeing issues begin.
  • The academy will promote the importance of extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests in the teaching of the curriculum and stress that being involved in such activities in their own lives and in their community can contribute positively to theirs and others’ wellbeing. Every pupil will have the opportunity to engage in volunteering of some sort during their time at the academy and this will enable them to gain a full understanding of them going on to lead a happy and successful life.
  • The academy will not shy away from teaching pupils that problems and challenges will occur in daily life, and equip them with skills on how to overcome these.  They will also be taught about factual information such as prevalence and characteristics of more serious mental and physical health conditions, drugs, alcohol and information about effective interventions.
  • The academy will support the mental health and wellbeing of pupils through the implementation of a framework which outlines our universal and our targeted support offer.  The academy will also utilise support groups such as mental health ambassadors to champion positive mental health and wellbeing, and offer targeted parent/carer sessions to discuss aspects of mental health and wellbeing.
  • Staff will be made aware of adverse childhood experiences and how they might affect pupils. They will also be made aware of the impact of time spent online, the positive aspects of online support and negotiating social media, including online forums and gaming.
  • Pupils will be taught how to judge when they, or someone they know, needs support and where they can seek help if they have concerns. This will include details on which adults in school (e.g. school nurse), and externally can help.
  • Staff will be aware of the importance of raising any concerns as per the safeguarding policy. They should also be aware that children may raise topics including self-harm and suicide and that they should seek advice on how to tackle this as appropriate, always following safeguarding processes and procedures.

         Monitoring and evaluation  

  • The Head of Citizenship and PSHE will liaise annually with the other curriculum areas to ensure that the relationships and sex education programme is being covered appropriately and that the biological, social and emotional elements of relationships and sex education and health education are properly co-ordinated. Aspects of Health Education will b e taught within the core PE offer.
  • The programme will be evaluated and monitored through the usual school review processes, including student voice and the CREATE cycle.
  • The Governing Body and Leadership Team are responsible for overseeing, reviewing and organising the revision of the Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education Policy.
  • Parents/carers are able to offer views on this policy at parents’ forums.  Staff will be able to offer their views during curriculum review meetings.
  • The academy hosts particular sessions aimed at supporting parents/carers with particular areas of this policy.
  • The academy may use external organisations to deliver contents.  In this case, these organisations will be appropriate and the visiting speaker policy will be adhered to.