Implementation of new Relationships, Relationships and Sex (RSE) and Health Education curriculum
Contact for enquiries: Janis Marsh PSHE, EHWB & Healthy Schools Coordinator Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE), Emotional Health and Wellbeing (EHWB)
The report was introduced by Cathy Twist, Director of Education and Learning, Janis Marsh, Healthy Schools Co-ordinator, and Kathryn Shaw, Early Years Improvement Lead, who stated that:
· Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) was now required to be delivered within the wider Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) context, following changes to central government guidance.
· The introduction of the new curriculum had raised concerns amongst parents elsewhere in the country, particularly the lessons about different family structures, including LGBT+ families, and the content of sex education.
· Many Lambeth schools had already been delivering the expected curriculum for a number of years. Teachers were receiving training on the new curriculum.
· Many schools had organised information sessions for parents to improve understanding of the new curriculum. These sessions had been well attended, likely due to the coverage of protests in the news.
The Committee then heard from Lucy Peake, Headteacher, Herbert Morrison Primary School, and Jane Scarsbrook, Headteacher, Glenbrook Primary School, who provided the following information:
· Herbert Morrison Primary School had a senior member of staff lead on PSHE to ensure that it was valued and prioritised, as it related to all subjects. Children were ambassadors for different subject areas, including PSHE.
· There were elements of the new curriculum that were new, and could be difficult for classroom teachers to deliver without training. Schools had been offered training from the Council on the new guidance.
· Concerns from parents at meetings had been addressed by Council representatives, and following the session parents agreed that the curriculum was appropriate for primary-age children.
· Teaching RSE was a core part of schools’ statutory safeguarding duties.
· Parents still had the right to withdraw their children from sex education, but a very small number did so.
The Chair then opened up the debate to members of the Sub-Committee and in response to questions the Director of Education and Learning, Healthy Schools Co-ordinator, Headteacher, Herbert Morrison Primary School and Headteacher, Glenbrook Primary School, stated that:
· At Herbert Morrison Primary School, children who were PSHE Ambassadors had taken part in LGBT+ training. Children were taught from a young age that there were different types of families, but that all families were based on love and respect. While children would ask questions relating to PSHE and the issues raised, they generally reacted positively.
· The new guidance was statutory for all schools, including academies and independent schools.
· Parents’ primary concerns were often around the naming of body parts, although their concerns were generally addressed after speaking to school staff. There had been some concerns regarding the teaching of inclusive RSE, but the majority of these were from parents concerned that children would be taught how to be LGBT+.
· Lambeth officers had visited some faith schools, and although there was more reluctance from parents, parents understood that different types of families existed in wider society and there would be children within schools in such families.
· The Department for Education had promised training, but this was likely to be online.
· Only one secondary school had approached Lambeth for training in the past two years, but support was available elsewhere.
· The Council had invited all schools to appoint a lead on RSE.
· An update would be provided to the Committee following the Early Adopters’ meeting later in November.
i. That an update be provided to the Committee on the Early Adopters programme outside the meeting.