Hathershaw College

Relationships and Sex Education Policy


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Relationships and Sex Education Policy


Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is the right and responsibility of the parent/carer.  The College provides RSE to support parents/carers in fulfilling their responsibility and to contribute to every students’ health, wellbeing and preparation for adult life. 

The College is a diverse school community with a spectrum of beliefs and values, which are fully respected. As a result, we have consulted widely on the RSE Policy as well as needing to reflect the statutory content.


Section 1- The aims of Relationships and Sex Education

The aim of this policy is to communicate to staff, governors, parents/carers, visitors and students the manner in which RSE will be delivered and supported at the College. 

The aims are: 

  • to enable our students to better understand the nature of relationships
  • to help students develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy
  • to create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships
  • to enable students to understand the importance of stable loving relationships, including marriage, for the bringing up of children
  • to prepare students for the changes that occur to their bodies, minds and emotions as a consequence of growth from childhood to adulthood
  • to know about the risks of being online and how to stay safe from exploitation
  • to support all young people for life in modern Britain.


Section 2- Statutory Requirements

As a secondary school, we must provide RSE to all students as per section 34 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and the new statutory Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education 2020.

In teaching RSE, we are required by our funding agreements to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State as outlined in section 403 of the Education Act 1996.

At The Hathershaw College, we teach RSE as set out in this policy in line with the mainstream and free school funding agreement.


Section 3- Policy Development

This policy has been developed in consultation with staff, students and parents. The consultation and policy development process involved the following steps:

  1. Review – a member of staff or working group pulled together all relevant information including relevant national and local guidance
  2. Senior Leader consultation – all senior leaders were given the opportunity to look at the policy and make recommendations
  3. Parent/stakeholder consultation – parents and any interested parties were invited to attend a meeting about the policy
  4. Pupil consultation – we investigated what exactly students want from their RSE
  5. Ratification – once amendments were made, the policy was shared with governors and ratified

Section 4 - What is effective Relationships and Sex Education?

It is lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of a stable and loving relationship. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality, and sexual health as well as preparing students at school for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. It is not about the promotion of sexual orientation or sexual activity. Our curriculum is also designed to support children growing up in an increasingly complex and digital world. Whilst the internet is an overwhelmingly positive development in our lives, it does present significant challenges, particularly for young people. The dominance of social media, the prevalence of cyber-bullying and the risk that children learn about relationships from untrustworthy sources – we aim to support children to make the right decisions and keep themselves safe and happy. The content and delivery of RSE at the College will be conducted in an age appropriate way.

For further information on how we keep our students safe consult our Safeguarding Policy via the College’s website: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eGhUgiQaqoccwqFfWhga5QlBr-dNPiz9/view


4.1 Attitudes and values 

Students are helped to examine the value of family life, marriage, and stable and loving relationships for the nurture of children. They are also encouraged to explore and consider moral dilemmas. RSE can also help students to develop a good self-image and high self-esteem, responsibility and the ability to make informed decisions.

4.2 Personal and social skills

RSE encourages students to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively whilst developing self-respect and empathy for others. Students are taught to make choices based on an understanding of difference, with an absence of prejudice and learning how to recognise and avoid exploitation and abuse. It also provides opportunities to develop communication skills and assertiveness within a range of different situations.

4.3 Knowledge and understanding

RSE focuses on understanding physical development at appropriate stages. The students will explore; human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships. Students will also be provided with information on contraception and the range of local and national sexual health advice support services. Students will look at the reasons for delaying sexual activity, the benefits to be gained from such delay and the avoidance of unplanned pregnancy. This will provide an objective and balanced view of sexual matters, correcting any misconceptions and misinformation students may have gained.


Section 5 - Delivery of RSE at The Hathershaw College

5.1 How is relationships and sex education taught?

RSE is taught discretely through the Citizenship Curriculum, but a number of related themes are also delivered through a range of other curriculum areas. For example, the Science curriculum will be used to deliver aspects that relate to biological and anatomical factors and Religious Studies for the coverage of moral issues. Some themes might also be covered in assemblies or presentations to larger groups by external facilitators.

The College recognises the need to create a supportive and secure atmosphere where students can develop the confidence needed to talk, listen and think about relationships and sex education. In order to do this, teachers will: 

  • Establish ground rules with students
  • Emphasise the importance of mutual respect
  • Encourage reflection
  • Make students aware of the relevant persons to approach in the College.

RSE focuses on giving young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds including: o Families o Respectful relationships, including friendships o Online and media o Being safe o Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health For more information about our RSE curriculum, see Appendix 1.

These areas of learning are taught within the context of family life taking care to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances. Families can include single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents/carers amongst other structures along with reflecting sensitively that some children may have a different structure of support around them, for example: they may be young carers.

We understand that teaching RSE in a secondary school should build on the learning at primary school. Through our network of feeder and Trust primary schools we work together to establish a benchmark for RSE provision to ensure that this learning will be built on developmentally.

Staff that deliver RSE at the College will be provided with CPD to ensure that they are skilled in their delivery.

5.2 Specialist support

The College also recognises that some aspects of RSE must be taught by specialists. From time to time the College will invite professional health experts in to deliver issues relating to RSE.

These will be asked to conform to the following:

  • Visitors contributing to RSE will do so at the invitation of the College and will be qualified to make an appropriate contribution
  • Visitors must agree with the aims of the College in delivering its policy on RSE
  • When in class visitors will be supervised by a teacher who will be present at all times
  • Visitors will follow the College’s Safeguarding procedures if a disclosure occurs within the classroom setting
  • Visitors will know and understand where their contribution fits into the College’s programme for RSE and Citizenship.

5.4 Dealing with sensitive issues

All teachers are given training on handling controversial topics, are made clear about confidentiality boundaries and know where/who to refer students to for confidential advice and support.

RSE is part of the College’s provision for Spiritual, Moral Social and Cultural development. The following are protocols for discussion based lessons with students:

  • No one (teacher or student) will have to answer a personal question
  • No one will be forced to take part in a discussion
  • Meanings of words will be explained in a sensible and factual way
  • Teachers may use their discretion in responding to questions and may say that the appropriate person to answer that question is the parent/carer
  • It is expected that teachers’ personal beliefs and attitudes will not influence their teaching of RSE
  • If at any point a disclosure is made by a student it is the responsibility of the member of staff to follow the schools’ safeguarding policy and notify the College’s Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy DSL. Staff must also register any concerns for a student on CPOMs before notifying the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy DSL.

For further information on how we keep our students safe consult our Safeguarding Policy via the College’s website: https://www.hathershaw.org.uk/Safeguarding-Policy/


Section 6 - Parental right to withdrawal from RSE

RSE is part of all students’ education and it is hoped that all will participate. Some parts of RSE are compulsory – these are part of the National Curriculum for Science. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the [non-statutory/non-science] components of sex education within RSE up to and until 3 terms before the child turns 16. After this point, if the child wishes to receive sex education rather than being withdrawn, the school will arrange this.

Requests for withdrawal should be put in writing using the form found in Appendix 2 of this policy and addressed to the Principal. A copy of withdrawal requests will be placed in the pupil’s educational record. The Principal will discuss the request with parents and take appropriate action. When the Principal receives such a letter he will invite the parents/carers to a meeting, at which the Principal will explain clearly what the College’s policy is and seek to accommodate the wishes and/or concerns of the parents/carers. If that is not possible the pupil will be withdrawn from RSE and placed in another class where suitable work and supervision will be provided.


Section 7- Roles and responsibilities

7.1 The Local Governing Body

The Local Governing Body will approve the RSE policy, and hold the Principal to account for its implementation.

7.2 The Principal

The Principal is responsible for ensuring that RSE is taught consistently across the school, and for managing requests to withdraw students from [non-statutory/non-science] components of RSE (see section 6).

7.3 Staff

Staff are responsible for:

  • Delivering RSE in a sensitive way
  • Modelling positive attitudes to RSE
  • Monitoring progress
  • Responding to the needs of individual students
  • Responding appropriately to students whose parents wish them to be withdrawn from the [non-statutory/non-science] components of RSE
  • Staff do not have the right to opt out of teaching RSE. Staff who have concerns about teaching RSE are encouraged to discuss this with the Principal

7.4 Students

Students are expected to engage fully in RSE and, when discussing issues related to RSE, treat others with respect and sensitivity. SENd students will be provided with support and differentiated resources as appropriate which will ensure RSE is accessible to them.


Section 8 - Procedure for monitoring and evaluating RSE

The policy and its implementation will be reviewed every 12 months. The College’s RSE link governor is Cllr Ateeque Ur-Rehman. The policy will be monitored by the Assistant Principal, Andrew Potts, whose responsibility it is to:

Ensure that RSE is covered in the schemes of work for Citizenship

Monitor the use of teaching and learning styles through learning walks

Monitor the use of teaching materials through work scrutiny

Evaluate the effectiveness of the schools programme

Ensure the content is age appropriate. To view details of the Citizenship curriculum visit the Statutory Information page on the College website. http://www.hathershaw.org.uk/docs/Curriculum/Curriculum_Statement_Website.pdf


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To download this document, please click below.

PDF icon Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Policy