The new Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum
From September 2020 Relationships Education will be compulsory in all primary schools in England and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools, as well as Health Education becoming compulsory in all state-funded schools. Of course schools have always woven much of this work into the PSHE Curriculum for years but they are now more prominent.
To enable schools to prepare for the changes, the Department for Education (DfE) selected a number of providers to deliver high-quality training to schools. The training is funded by the DfE and is based on set learning objectives that pupils must learn at both primary and secondary stages. Prior to the delivery of the training, the subjects were developed by a thorough engagement process, including a public call for evidence that received over 23,000 responses from parents, young people, schools and experts and a public consultation.
The Alliance for Learning Teaching School (AFL), based in Altrincham, is one of approximately 20 providers who are delivering free training to schools to prepare them for the changes. The AFL is a huge teaching school and well placed to deliver. Training to secondary schools has working with 200 schools in summer/autumn term. An additional 100 schools will have the opportunity to join the next cohort starting in September 2020. There are some significant changes to the curriculum itself, how it is delivered, the consultation process and the parental right to withdraw their child from certain areas of the teaching.
The programme is very popular and the first 200 places were booked within the first few weeks. Feedback so far has been excellent and we are further developing the programme following feedback.
For secondary schools, there are 13 topics and each is mandatory within the new statutory curriculum. Due to Covid-19, the training is all online rather than the original face to face delivery plan. The online delivery means that multiple staff from each school can access the training and resources and the materials will remain online after the project has completed in March 2021. AFL are delivering the training using Google Classrooms, a platform that many schools are now very familiar with. In addition to covering all 13 topics. One thing that makes AFL unique is the range of partners they have and they have supported the programme with a range of webinars from external agencies and charities to enhance the knowledge of those participating plus additional training programmes that they offer. External providers include Stonewall, PSHE Solutions, We Do Wellbeing, Jigsaw and The Youth Sport Trust.
AFL have developed the 13 topics working with four Specialist Leaders of Education from secondary schools within Greater Manchester (including Stretford Grammar High School and Wellacre Academy, with one developed by the Youth Sport Trust).
The team have worked together to bring their skills, experience of the curriculum, and their knowledge of the statutory changes and guidance. They have developed interactive resources and thought-provoking online learning whilst making it clear that the topics should be embedded into other subjects in school where possible. Ian Nicholson, Lead SLE for the Project has completed three of the topics within the Sex Education module. Ian, Assistant Headteacher at Stretford Grammar High School, said “I am committed and passionate about delivering the best RSHE teaching to students. The curriculum is exceptionally important and, whilst we have been teaching the new areas covered in the new curriculum in our school, it is great that this is now consistent and mandatory for all schools. It is great to be working with other schools so we can all share our good practice”.
Lisa Fathers (pictured), Director of Teaching School and Partnerships at AFL has led the project from the bid stage starting in January 2020. Lisa stated “We are passionate about delivering good quality training to other schools and sharing our knowledge. As our teaching school has been successful in a number of projects including the Greater Manchester Mentally Healthy Schools programme, the PSHE training programme fitted with our values and area that we feel is critical to schools and its pupils. The feedback so far has been superb. It is clear that some schools need more support than others and the flexibility of this project will enable us to further help those schools that need it most”.
If you are a state funded secondary school and would like to join the September 2020 programme, visit http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/our-hubs/pshe-hub/ if you are a state funded primary school you can join the training through another training school, contact Alliance for Learning Teaching school and they will put you in touch.