In this article, we summarise the new DfE guidance and focus on what schools should do now to be compliant.
Whilst schools already teach about relationships, the previous guidance Sex and Relationships Education (2000) is now very dated.
The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 made under section 34 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 will come into force on 1 September 2020 and all schools in England must have regard to this. This means that from that date, schools will have to teach relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education.
Unless otherwise specified in the guidance, 'school' means all schools, including academies and free schools. The statutory requirement to provide health education also applies to academy schools as well as maintained schools.
Key elements are already considered by Ofsted as relevant to the evaluation of schools in respect of the quality of education, personal development and therefore leadership and management. Inspectors will consider your obligations in respect of the new curriculum when reaching their judgement.
What Do Schools Need to Do to Be Compliant?
- Consult Your Stakeholders
Schools are required to consult with parents and other stakeholders (such as pupils, staff and the school community) on curriculum content and delivery. This may seem a long way off, but schools are advised to be proactive and start planning now. You should allow sufficient time to listen to your stakeholders before making any decisions and updating your policies.
However, consultation does not provide a parental veto on curriculum content or delivery. Ultimately schools, and not parents, determine the curriculum content.
- Prepare Your Staff
Schools should appoint staff to manage the process, teach the new content and review their policies and procedures.
Parents have been advised to contact schools directly if they wish to have more information about RSE - all the more reason to be prepared and for staff to know how to respond.
- Update Your RSE Policy
Your new policy should comply with the guidance and needs to be tailored to your local community. It should also include definitions, subject content, information about parents' right to withdraw and details of review dates of the policy.
How Can We Help?
- We have produced template Relationships Education and RSE policies which we can tailor to your school. This includes a suggested approach to parent consultation, giving your busy leadership team a clear project plan and ready to use timescales. Contact us now to request your own template.
- We can also review your proposed consultation processes and documents, including responses to parents.
- If you already subscribe to our Compliance Toolkit, you will have received regular updates about the new guidance. We will continue to keep you informed as matters develop over the next year. To subscribe to our Compliance Toolkit or find out more about pricing, please contact us now.
For specialist support preparing for the new curriculum, please contact Nicola Tarmey in our Academies team, or complete the below form.