Relationships, Sex & Health Education (RSHE) Curriculum

What is RSHE?

RSHE is lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. Through RSHE children learn about relationships, diversity, respect, healthy lifestyles, safety, the body and how it changes, reproduction and birth in a sensitive and age-appropriate way. At Southwark, we are building the foundations of skills and knowledge that will be developed further at secondary level. Our priority when providing RSHE throughout the school is to safeguard our pupils. During their time at Southwark, children will learn key knowledge and skills to help keep them safe and prepare them for their next stages of life.  Through our RSHE Curriculum, we aim to provide children with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. In providing children with an understanding of healthy and respectful relationships and appropriate boundaries, we consider effective RSHE to be fundamental.

Pupils will understand their self-value within society so that they can effectively contribute to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

Key Objectives of our RSHE Curriculum

• Develop knowledge and understanding of positive and healthy relationships and the importance of commitment

• Make pupils aware of their rights especially in relation to their bodies

• Enable the development of social and relationship skills and protective behaviours

• Prepare pupils for the physical and emotional changes of puberty

• Develop understanding of reproduction and birth within the context of loving and caring relationships

• Explore a range of attitudes, values and faith perspectives around aspects of relationships and sex

• Support pupils to use the internet safely and to recognise the benefits and risks that it brings

• Develop pupils’ skills around assessing risk and keeping safe

• Enable children to gain the skills and understanding to support the development of healthy bodies and minds

• Enable pupils to recognise and manage their emotions

• Provide pupils with the knowledge and skills to access appropriate support

Equality, Inclusion and Support

We comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. Our school values diversity, encourages respect for all and promotes tolerance for, and celebration of, difference. We do not discriminate against pupils because of any protected characteristic (age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership, or sexual orientation). At times, when there is an identified need, we may take positive action through our planning and delivery of RSHE to deal with disadvantages facing those with a particular characteristic.

RSHE will be accessible to all regardless of their gender. Through the delivery of RSHE, teachers will explore gender stereotypes and how they may limit a person’s potential and ensure that people of all genders receive information that is relevant to their needs.

As a school, we appreciate that some faiths and cultures may hold differing perspectives about RSHE. As a school we will deliver RSHE in a factual, non-judgmental way ensuring that teachers do not promote one faith or cultural viewpoint but rather provide a balanced approach that acknowledges the wealth of views and opinions of our community and teaches tolerance. Parents and carers are key partners in RSHE and are best placed to support their children to understand how their learning at school aligns with their family’s faith, beliefs and values. Therefore, we will ensure that parents are made aware of what will be taught, when and how.

We will use a range of materials and resources that reflect the diversity of our school community and encourage acceptance and tolerance. We want every child and family to feel included, respected and valued.

Teachers will plan in different ways and use a variety of teaching strategies to meet the needs of individuals. For some children, particularly those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, a differentiated approach may be necessary to ensure learning outcomes are met – this will be discussed with parents/carers. Some pupils may have experienced adverse childhood experiences that may impact on their ability to engage with RSHE in a variety of ways. Through consultation, parents can inform class teachers of any information relating to this. Care will be taken to ensure that, where this is the case, teachers will find the most appropriate way to teach this Curriculum.

A range of different families and relationships will be explored within RSHE. All children, whatever their identity, developing identity, or family background, need to feel that RSHE is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. This means that resources and texts used will represent families of all kinds, including mum/dad, two mums, two dads, fostering, adoption, single parent, extended family and others. This reflects both our school community and wider society.

What is taught?

RSHE will be taught in each year group throughout the school, including Nursery. The curriculum we deliver is age-appropriate and progressive, building the children’s knowledge, understanding and skills year on year. The progressive objectives taught in each year group support the outcomes outlined in the government RSHE guidance: ucation__Relationships_and_Sex_Education__RSE__and_Health_Education.pdf .

Our RSHE Curriculum is taught via the ‘SCARF’ (Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience, Friendship.) Coram Life Education program. RSHE specific lessons are designed to cover key skills, attitudes and values children need to explore in order to develop healthy relationships with their peers. Below is an overview of topics covered across the school:

Aged 3-4 (Nursery)
Describe seasonal changes, use key vocabulary relating to natural change, e.g. weather, seasons, cold, hot, describe the life cycle of an animals, talk about how babies change as they grow, explain what babies need and how this changes as they grow, share their own experiences and listen to those of others, talk about the similarities and differences between males and females, begin to play inclusively with their friends, regardless of their sex, explore what a family may look like.

Aged 4-5 years (Reception): being the same and different, our special people, different families, different homes, our feelings, being unique and special, being kind, caring and friendly, keeping safe, keeping healthy, resilience, life stages and growing from young to old.

Aged 5-6 years (Year 1): explores themes around families and their special people, the importance of respecting others including those that are different from us, recognising that genitals are private and their correct names; develops understanding of the difference between surprises and secrets (good or bad secrets) and when not to keep bad adult secrets; exploring the different stages of life and how this changes, helps develop judgement of what kind of physical contact is acceptable or unacceptable and how to respond to this (including who to tell and how to tell them).

Aged 6-7 years (Year 2): looks at the process of growing from young to old and how people’s needs change; explores the opportunities and responsibilities that increasing independence can bring, recognising that they share a responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe, to understand how to give positive feedback to others, naming body parts and knowing which parts of the body are private.

Aged 7-8 years (Year 3): introduces themes about change and bereavement, healthy and unhealthy relationships (friendships), making informed choices; Identify when it is appropriate or inappropriate to allow someone into their body space, recognise that repeated name calling is a form of bullying, safe and unsafe secret.

Aged 8-9 years (Year 4): builds on the themes covered in previous years, looking more closely at body changes as they approach and move through puberty (including menstruation), conflicting emotions; what positively and negatively affects their physical, mental and emotional health; understanding good and not-so-good feelings.

Aged 9-10 years (Year 5): builds on the themes covered previously and in greater depth, looking more closely at: body changes and feelings during puberty including: menstruation and human reproduction; how their changing feelings can affect those they live with; what makes relationships unhealthy; gender identity and different types of bullying including homophobic and transphobic; understanding what is meant by confidentiality: safe and unsafe secrets

Aged 10-11 years (Year 6): builds on and reinforces all the themes of the previous years, with new content built into the lesson plans looking at: body image and the media; sexual intercourse and explore the risks of sharing photos and films of themselves with other people directly or online

From Nursery – Year 6, school will teach the NSPCC ‘PANTS’ programme for primary schools. This important programme of work is vital to support our children’s developing understanding of appropriate and inappropriate touch, empowering them with the age-appropriate information they need to keep themselves and others safe. More information can be found at:

As a school, we want to be able to respond to our pupils as and when the need arises. Teachers and leaders may cover additional content for individuals, classes or whole year groups. This may include, but are not limited to, lessons about healthy lifestyles, vaping or smoking, positive relationships, or appropriate touch. We will notify you via Class Dojo prior to these lessons being taught to give you an opportunity to discuss this before it is taught.

Elements of RSHE are also included within the Science National Curriculum and are taught in Years 2,3,5 and 6.

Pupils should be taught to:

Year 2: Notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults
Year 3: Describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene.
Year 5: Comparing lifecycles of animals
Year 6: Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

The curriculum will be evaluated and reviewed by teachers on a regular basis using pupil interviews, book looks and lesson evaluations.

Sex Education

Within the ‘Relationship, Sex and Health Education framework’, we teach ‘Sex Education’ in Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.

In Year 4 this includes: knowing the correct words for the external sexual organs; exploring the word 'puberty' giving examples of some of the physical and emotional changes associated with it; discussing some of the myths associated with puberty, recognising that babies come from the joining of an egg and sperm; explaining what happens when an egg doesn’t meet a sperm; understand that periods are a normal part of puberty for girls, identifying some of the ways they can cope better with periods, identifying products that they may need during puberty and why and to know what menstruation is and why it happens.

In Year 5 this includes: Looking more carefully at how the body changes during puberty, how pupils manage these changes, as well as how they can look after themselves. Pupils revisit periods and understand that periods happen when an egg doesn’t meet a sperm. Pupils consolidate learning on the external sex organs as well as being introduced to the concept of wet dreams.

In Year 6 this includes: Exploring puberty in more depth; suggesting strategies that would help someone who felt challenged by the changes in puberty; identifying the changes that happen through puberty to allow sexual reproduction to occur; know ways in which the sperm can fertilise the egg to create a baby and knowing the legal age of consent and what it means. The content of sex education includes learning about reproduction, pregnancy, and birth as well as consent. This part of the RSE curriculum will always be taught in the Summer Term. Puberty, reproduction, and birth are statutory and are included in either the Health Education curriculum or the National Curriculum: Science. Parents/carers, if they choose to, are only able to withdraw their child when learning about conception ‘making babies’ lesson.


Right to withdraw from sex education

It is important that the phase before moving to secondary school supports pupils’ ongoing emotional and physical development effectively. The DfE recommends that all primary schools should have a sex education curriculum, tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. Whilst we always try to work with parents to explore their views, we also accept that parents can exercise their right to withdraw their child from the sex education elements of our curriculum (other than that which comes within the Science curriculum). There is no right to withdraw from Relationships Education or Health Education. Within our non-statutory sex education that takes place in Year 6, children will learn about how a baby is conceived, whether through sexual intercourse or IVF. This information builds on content they have previously learnt in the curriculum about relationships, puberty changes and reproduction; it lays the foundations for their ongoing Relationships and Sex Education in their secondary phase.

Parents/carers, if they choose to, are able to withdraw their child when learning about conception in Year 6 (‘making babies’ lesson). They can exercise their right by sending a letter or email to the Headteacher stating their reasons why. Teachers will plan appropriate, purposeful education for children who are withdrawn from sex education.

Confidentiality, safeguarding and child protection

Everyone involved in RSHE will be clear about the boundaries of their legal and professional roles and responsibilities. Teachers will discuss confidentiality with pupils through the development of a group agreement at the start of lessons, making it clear that teachers cannot offer unconditional confidentiality. Pupils will be informed that if confidentiality has to be broken, due to safeguarding concerns, they will be informed first and then supported as appropriate. Teachers will be aware that effective RSHE, which brings an understanding of what is and is not acceptable, can lead to disclosure of a child protection issue. Everyone involved in RSHE will be alert to signs of abuse and report concerns or suspicions to the Designated Safeguarding Lead as outlined in the safeguarding policy. Any disclosure of sexual activity from a primary age child would raise immediate child protection concerns that would be dealt with in a sensitive manner in line with local safeguarding procedures.

If a parent or carer would like to discuss the RSHE policy or view the curriculum materials, this can be arranged via the school office.

Please click the attachment below to view our RSHE policy.

Southwark Primary School RSHE Policy 2023 2024