Relationships, Sex and Health Education
Any teaching about love and sexual relationships in a Catholic school must be rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching about what it is to be truly human in Christ, what it means to live well in relationship with others and be presented within a positive framework of Christian virtue. In Catholic schools we are encouraged to speak about Relationship Sex and Health Education (RSHE) rather than Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), since this emphasises the importance of healthy relationships to human well-being, as the core learning within an RSE curriculum.
A good RSHE programme must enshrine core pedagogical virtues – that it is, it must, above else, qualify as good education. Therefore, it will be:
Progressive & Developmental
The learning needs to reflect each stage of the development of the person. It needs to be appropriate to the age and stage of development of all pupils during the different phases of their education. It also needs to be continuous and developmental. It should be a process which is planned from beginning to end with one phase of education informing the work of the next so that all pupils can be led to a deeper and fuller understanding by degrees at a rate which corresponds to their maturing.
We ensure that RSHE is sensitive to the different needs of individual pupils and is taught in a way that allows access to those pupils at different stages of cognitive and emotional development. Learning and teaching methods are adapted for those with particular needs. We ensure that all pupils take part in RSHE lessons, including those with SEND.
As a Catholic school we are committed to the education of the whole person, teaching on relationships and sexuality needs to be reflected in each relevant part of the curriculum. Whilst, for example, some aspects of RSHE will be more appropriately explored in science lessons and some more appropriately explored in RE lessons, each should be informed by the other. Each discipline should speak with consistency about the meaning of human love and the virtues that are enshrined in the Church’s teaching on human love.
Our well-planned programme ensures that there is correspondence between phases and across disciplines but will ensure that parents are fully involved in the planning and evaluation of the teaching of relationships and sexuality. Ideally, pupils should hear a consistent message about the meaning and value of human sexuality at home, in the parish and at school. This can only be achieved if the home, parish and schoolwork to integrate the teaching of RSHE.
RSHE is led by the RE Leader, who has the expertise and co-ordinates the subject with dedication and commitment. Our teaching team is also committed to doing it well; taught as part of a whole-school approach by those who are able to celebrate the teaching of the Church on love and human sexuality.
Whilst promoting Catholic virtues, we ensure that all pupils enjoy our broad and balanced RSHE programme which provides them with clear factual information and meets the statutory requirements.
Relationships, Sex and Health Education
At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Catholic Infant School & Nursery, we deliver the Relationship, Sex and Health Education curriculum through the Life to the Full programme produced by Ten Ten and supplement it with our PSHE curriculum SCARF to ensure coverage. By using this programme, staff and parents deliver a fully integrated and holistic programme that enables pupils to ‘live life to the full’ (John 10:10). It offers a comprehensive platform of creative resources that engage, inform, and inspire all pupils, parents, and staff. This includes interactive video content, story-based activities, and original worship music, as well as a wide range of teaching tools and an accompanying programme of classroom prayers.
The ‘Life to the Full’ curriculum is fully inclusive of all pupils, families, and staff. The programme acknowledges that there are different families, and it celebrates the family unit however it presents itself. The programme is flexible, and it can be built upon to ensure that every pupil and their family background is welcomed and accepted. The programme emphasises very strongly the dignity of every person as being created and loved by God.
Structure of the programme:
‘Life to the Full’ takes a spiral curriculum approach so that as pupils progress through the programme year-after-year, the learning will develop and grow, with each stage building on the last.
Module One: Created and Loved by God: This module explores the individual. Rooted in the teaching that we are made in the image and likeness of God, it helps pupils to develop an understanding of the importance of valuing themselves as the springboard to form good, strong personal relationships.
Module Two: Created to Love Others: This module explores the individual’s relationship with others. Building on the understanding that we have been created out of love and for love, this Module explores how we take this calling into our family, friendships, and relationships, and teaches strategies for developing heathy relationships and keeping safe.
Module Three: Created to Live in Community: This module explores the individual’s relationship with the wider world. It also explores how human beings are relational by nature and are called to love others in the wider community through service, through dialogue and through working for the Common Good.
Me, My Body, My Health: Pupils learn about their uniqueness in real terms, including celebrating differences and individual gifts, talents, and abilities. They learn about looking after and using their God-given bodies and develop their vocabulary around this topic.
Emotional Well-Being: Pupils learn about likes, dislikes and self-acceptance. They learn how to describe different feelings, both good and bad. Finally, through a real-world example, pupils will learn that actions have consequences; that when we make mistakes, we should say sorry and ask for forgiveness.
Life Cycles: Pupils explore the natural human cycle of life, focusing on what pupils can remember about their development so far and what they know will happen as they get older.
Personal Relationships: Pupils build on their vocabulary by applying names to different family/friend relationships, consider positive/negative behaviour in relationships and learn to look to Jesus as their role model for a good friend. Pupils learn to resolve conflict and the importance of asking for forgiveness.
Keeping Safe: Pupils learn practical ways to stay safe inside and out, about bodily privacy (including the NSPCC PANTS message that ‘privates are private’) and the importance of talking to their ‘special people’ if anything troubles them. Pupils also learn about medicine safety and the people who help us in emergencies.
Living in the Wider World: Pupils develop an understanding of the responsibilities they have to people, places, and the planet now and as they grow older.
Me, My Body, My Health: Pupils are encouraged to celebrate similarities and differences between people, including our God-given bodies and the things they enable us to do. This includes maintaining personal hygiene and the physical differences between boys and girls.
Emotional Well-Being: Pupils develop an understanding and express their own changing feelings and how other’s feelings might differ from theirs. Pupils learn to manage their feelings and the consequences of their actions.
Life Cycles: Pupils are taught about the specifics of the human life cycle and celebrate how they have already changed and grown.
Personal Relationships: Pupils are taught to identify the ‘special people’ in their lives who they love and can trust. Pupils learn how to cope with various social situations and dilemmas, as well as the importance of saying sorry and forgiveness within relationships.
Keeping Safe: Pupils are taught to identify the difference between good and bad secrets. This module also explores the risks of being online by incorporating the ‘Smartie the Penguin’ resources from Childnet, and teaching on physical boundaries, incorporating the PANTS resource by the NSPCC. Pupils learn about the effects of harmful substances (including alcohol and tobacco), some basic First Aid, what makes a 999 emergency and what they should do if in an emergency.
Living in the Wider World: This unit supports pupils to learn about the different local and global communities that they are part of, and what rights and responsibilities come with belonging to these communities.