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This conference focused on the future of the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum in England.
It was a timely opportunity to discuss the Department for Education’s Independent Expert Panel review, which will assess the current content of RSHE, how protection can be put in place to ensure children understand what they are being taught, and how age ratings can be introduced for different parts of the curriculum.
With the panel expected to provide their recommendations to the Secretary of State shortly, delegates assessed the updated statutory guidance for RSHE as the DfE consults on final guidance due later this year.
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with John Rees, Education Consultant, PSHE Solutions; and Jenny Barksfield, Director of Education and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PSHE Association.
Delegates looked at key issues with implementation of the current curriculum, now compulsory in England’s primary and secondary schools since 2021, including:
- curriculum design:
- learning from development of individual school policies and developing effective strategies
- how schools are using increased flexibility when designing the curriculum
- ways in which outside expertise is being used by schools when teaching
- next steps for improving inclusivity
- faith schools and the delivery of the new curriculum so far
- delivering the curriculum:
- examining the quality and standards of RSHE teaching, and key priorities for teacher training
- improving support for teachers and their confidence in the classroom
- parental and guardian engagement:
- supporting parents and households in becoming more involved in curriculum design and enabling conversations outside school
- addressing concerns surrounding teaching methods, content, and cultural and religious sensitivities
- supporting students:
- best practice in improving understanding of life challenges, including mental health and wellbeing concerns
- strategies for young people’s sexual and reproductive health awareness, online safety education, and for tackling sexual harassment
- potential additional areas of content:
- assessing new content areas which could be added to the curriculum, such as navigating social media, vaping, suicide prevention and tackling violence against women and girls
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from CMA; Department of Education, NI; DfE; GLD; Home Office; and the NCA; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.