Healthier Futures Barnsley

Relationships education was made compulsory in all primary schools in England in September 2020. Relationships and sex education was made compulsory in all secondary schools at the same time.

For pupils to embrace the challenges of a happy and successful adult life, they need to be able to make informed decisions about:

  • their wellbeing
  • their health
  • relationships

They also need to be able to build their self-efficacy.

In most families, parents and carers educate their children on many of these matters. Schools need to ensure they compliment and reinforce this role.

RSHE in schools’ best practice is that it is taught sensitively and inclusively. It should respect the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents. The aim should always be to provide pupils with the knowledge they need of the law.

In primary schools, the curriculum should include the key building blocks of:

  • healthy, respectful relationships
  • family and friendships
  • online and digital safety

This sits alongside the essential understanding of how to be healthy in the holistic sense. 

At secondary, teaching should build on the knowledge from primary and further develop pupils’ understanding of health. It should have an increased focus on risk areas such as drugs and alcohol, as well as introduce knowledge about intimate relationships and sexual health.

Teaching about emotional health and mental wellbeing is central to these subjects, especially as a priority for parents is their children’s happiness. Children and young people are increasingly experiencing challenges, and young people are at particular risk of feeling lonely. Subject content will give them the knowledge and capability to take care of themselves and receive support if problems arise. All of this content should support the wider work of schools in helping to foster pupil wellbeing. It should develop resilience and character that are fundamental to pupils being happy, successful and productive members of society.

Read the RSHE statutory guidance.

Resources for secondary

Resource Organisation Description
PSHE toolkit Childnet Lesson plans and video content about topics such as cyber bullying, sexting, peer pressure and body image for 11 to 14s.
Online pornography toolkit Childnet Lesson and talking heads films explore how this can impact how a young person feels about their body, relationships and gender roles.
PANTS resources NSPCC Lesson plans, classroom activities and more to help you talk PANTS and teach children the underwear rule to help keep them safe from abuse.
Puberty resources Always Video-led lessons to help pupils develop their self-esteem and body confidence.
Relationships and sex education PSHE Association Range of RSHE resources.