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RSE at school

Read our FAQs about Relationships and Sex Education in schools and ways you can work as a parent with your school.

What is happening in my child’s school?

  • LGBT+ relationships and families should be included in an integrated and age-appropriate  way.
  • RSE should be accessible for all.
  • Schools should be mindful of preparing young people with SEND for adulthood.
  • Teaching should be high quality, differentiated and personalised.
  • All young people’s backgrounds should be considered in planning.
  • Relationships education is mandatory for all key stages.
  • Health education is mandatory for all key stages.
  • The National Curriculum for science requires that children at Key Stage 2 learn that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults.
  • Health education is mandatory for all key stages.
  • Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools.
  • The National Curriculum for science requires that children at Key Stage 3/4 learn about communicable diseases including sexually transmitted infections in humans (including HIV/AIDs) and reproduction in humans.

In 2019, 538 MPs voted in favour of the statutory RSHE guidance. This is now being reviewed and we want the government to us this opportunity to build on the existing guidance to ensure it is meeting the needs of young people who are growing up in an increasingly complex world.

Pledge your support for RSHE

Yes. Usually the school will arrange to have a conversation with you, or invite you to a parent briefing session, so that they can introduce you to the aims and content of the RSE curriculum and explore ways you can support it at home. Schools also have to make their RSE policy available.

Remember: Responsibility for RSE sits with each individual school, and so questions or concerns should be directed to the school.

The upcoming review of the Government guidance on RSHE will have a big focus on age-appropriateness, but often hard and fast rules about age don’t reflect the diverse experience and understanding within classrooms. That’s why at Brook, we refer to lessons as being age and stage appropriate.

We believe the best way to teach RSE that is relevant and timely is through a spiral curriculum.

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You can read more about what Brook believes about age-appropriate RSE in our position statements.

We know from our extensive work with teachers and schools, that many don’t feel confident in delivering RSE to young people, especially when it comes to more complex topics. That’s why, if a school has the resource to do so, they may invite an external expert to:

  • provide a friendly face from a local service (e.g., a health service or youth service)
  • supplement in-school knowledge by bringing subject or technical expertise
  • bring variety to the classroom
  • introduce new ways of learning and different teaching styles
  • encourage more open conversations with young people
  • allow teachers to opt out of topics that are out of their knowledge/comfort zones

Quotes from young people following a Brook RSE lesson:

  • “I thought it was going to be embarrassing but I loved it, and it wasn’t embarrassing at all.”
  • “It covered a wide variety of topics that I had questions about, and now I know where to go for advice 🙂 The session leader was very welcoming”
  • “It was a safe place for questions we wouldn’t normally be asked.”
  • “The presenter did not shy away from the awkward questions”

SEF best practice document on inviting in external speakers

Work with your school and other parents

RSHE is most effective when parents and schools work in partnership. Brook offers parent sessions to schools in advance of delivering RSE to young people. In our experience, the parents we work with support schools in teaching RSE, feel confident about the content and timing of lessons, and they don’t want RSE to be limited because of a minority of parents who vocally oppose RSE.

Here are some easy ways you can work with your child’s school:

1. Download this template letter and send it to your school in support of comprehensive, inclusive RSE

2. If other parents express concerns about RSE content, check with the school whether what you are hearing about RSE is true

3. Let the school know that concerns are being shared at pick up time/ on WhatsApp groups and specify if/what misinformation is being shared

4. Encourage any parents with concerns to attend parents’ meetings about RSE

Here are some more challenging actions you can take:

  • Acknowledge that it’s normal for your fellow parents to be keen for the school to get it right re: RSE, but gently challenge or correct any misinformation being shared about RSE
  • Speak up to support other parents if they are being challenged when supporting RSE
  • Share a personal anecdote or some of the things that arose while doing our self-reflection exercise to illustrate why you think RSE is important

Pledge your support for RSE

As the government reviews its guidance of Relationships, Sex and Health Education we need more people to stand up for RSHE that is high-quality, effective, inclusive and empowers children and young people to thrive.

Sign our pledge for RSE

More information for parents…

RSE: The Evidence

RSE: At home