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 Bristol Free School

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Relationships and Sex Education

What is RSE?

Relationships and Sex education (RSE) is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health.

Why is RSE important?

The teaching of RSE and health education helps to prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. It equips students with the information, skills and values to have safe, fulfilling and enjoyable relationships and to take responsibility for their sexual health and well-being. It supports students to learn to respect themselves and others and move with confidence from childhood through adolescence into adulthood.
RSE is delivered through PHSE lessons, Tutor Time and Assemblies. External visitors and drop down days supplement in class provision. We encourage students and teachers to share and respect each other’s views and generate an atmosphere where questions and discussion on sexual matters can take place without any stigma or embarrassment.

Year by Year

RSE topics are introduced and revisited throughout the students' school years. This approach enables students to reflect and teachers provide more subject depth as the students mature.

Year 7, Relationships, term 4

Students will learn about friendships and how they develop and change, sources of support, external factors in relationships, assertiveness in relationships, and the changing role of families.

Year 7, Puberty and Change, term 5.

Students will develop an understanding of how puberty can change personal hygiene needs, and learn about the different products and methods that can help maintain good personal hygiene. They will develop an appreciation that feelings and emotions can change during puberty, and how to deal with this change. They will also learn about the changes that take place to the body during puberty. Finally, they be introduced to female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as breast ironing in order to help keep our students safe.

Year 8, Healthy Relationships, term 5.

Students will build on their introduction to relationships from Year 7 and develop their understanding of different types of relationships, what makes a healthy relationship, unhealthy and abusive relationships, sexual consent, sexting and teenage relationships. They will also learn about female genital mutilation (FGM).

Year 9, Relationships and Sex, terms 4 and 5

This unit builds on the idea of healthy relationships and introduces concepts of power in relationships, as well as assertiveness and saying ‘no’. Sexual consent is a key feature of this unit. This unit covers contraception, consequences of unprotected sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), online relationships, forced marriage and honour-based violence, and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Year 10, Relationships term 3

This unit reiterates the characteristics and importance of healthy relationships, and explores friendship and peer support, challenges to healthy relationships, and coping with relationship breakdown. In previous years, we have supplemented in-class learning with an off time table day, with engaging visits from groups including: Just Like Us and Sexpression.

Year 11, Families and Parenthood, term 1

In this unit students will learn about teenage pregnancy and choices, abortion, parenthood choices and finances, fertility in men and women and what impacts it, and menstrual and fertility charting.

Excusing your child from Sex Education

It is our aim for all students to engage fully with our RSE curriculum and it has been sensitively designed to achieve this. Parents wishing to withdraw their children from lessons when sex education is delivered (part of Year 9, Term 4 and 5 –Relationships and Sex; Year 10, Term 3 - Relationships) are required to contact the headteacher in writing to headteacher@bristolfreeschool.org.uk
In accordance with the government guidance we will respect a parents’ request to withdraw their child, up to and until three terms before the child turns 16. After that point, if the child wishes to receive sex education rather than be withdrawn, the school will make arrangements to provide the child with sex education during one of those terms. This includes all aspects of sex education that have been delivered up until this point.

Further Information

We recognise that parents are the key people in teaching their children about sex, relationships and growing up. You may find the following resources helpful when talking to your children about the topics they have covered.

Government guidance from the DfE

A parent’s guide to relationships and sex education (a parent's guide to relationships and sex education - includes links to helplines for parents/carers)

Advice on parenting teenagers

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