Relationships, Sex and Health Education

At Bishop Ramsey School we believe that providing our students with high quality Relationships, Sex and Health Education is vitally important. Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education was made statutory by the Department for Education in 2019, as per section 34 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017. Through our RSHE curriculum we aim to:

  • provide a framework in which sensitive discussions can take place 
  • prepare students for puberty, and give them an understanding of sexual development and the importance of health and hygiene 
  • help students develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy 
  • create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships 
  • teach students the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies 
  • provide students with what they need to know to be safe, healthy and manage their lives, academic, personal and social, as well as off and online
  • enable students to be independent and to take care of themselves, as well as empower them to know where to receive support if problems arise  
  • build young people who are resilient, happy, successful, productive, kind, generous and honest
  • support student wellbeing by providing them with mechanisms to cope during stressful periods and support them in developing their ability to learn and avoid distractions
  • support our goal of encouraging students to be open-minded minded, risk-takers and balanced in their thinking
  • support parents and carers as the prime educators in many of these topics by supplementing the conversations taking place at home with high-quality provision within the RSHE curriculum
  • make our RSHE curriculum inclusive of all and ensure that our provision is tailored to every student within the school, regardless of their situation and needs. 


  • We define relationships education as learning about the physical, social, legal and emotional aspects of human relationships including friendships, intimate, sexual and committed relationships and family life. 
  • We define sex education as learning about the physical, social, legal and emotional aspects of human sexuality and behaviour, including human reproduction. This includes conception and contraception, safer sex, sexually transmitted infections and sexual health. 

These definitions have been informed by the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association, as well as in consultation with the Senior Leadership Team at Bishop Ramsey School and those who have direct and primary responsibility for delivering RSHE content.

Our RSHE programme is based on the Sex Education Forum’s ‘Twelve principles’ of good quality RHSE, which are supported by the PSHE Association, children's charities and education unions. We ensure that the statutory curriculum content found within the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Guidance is delivered in a timely way and is age and developmentally appropriate to meet the needs of our students, including those students with SEND.

Controversial topics will be covered with sensitivity and respect for all viewpoints. The curriculum is not aimed to instruct what is right and wrong, but to take into account different perspectives and provide students with the information to make their own decisions.

The statutory content students must cover by the end of Year 11 is as follows:

Topic: Families

Students should know

  • That there are different types of committed, stable relationships

  • How these relationships might contribute to human happiness and their importance for bringing up children

  • What marriage is, including their legal status e.g. that marriage carries legal rights and protections not available to couples who are cohabiting or who have married, for example, in an unregistered religious ceremony

  • Why marriage is an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be freely entered into

  • The characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships

  • The roles and responsibilities of parents with respect to raising of children, including the characteristics of successful parenting

  • How to: determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy: judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe (and to recognise this in others’ relationships); and, how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others, if needed

Topic: Respectful Relationships, Including Friendships

Students should know

  • The characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (in all contexts, including online) including: trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending relationships. This includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship

  • Practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships

  • How stereotypes, in particular stereotypes based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)

  • That in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including people in positions of authority and due tolerance of other people’s beliefs

  • About different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders to report bullying and how and where to get help

  • That some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control

  • What constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable

  • The legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal

Topic: Online and Media

Students should know

  • Their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online

  • About online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online

  • Not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them

  • What to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online

  • The impact of viewing harmful content

  • That specifically sexually explicit material e.g. pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners

  • That sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail

  • How information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online

Topic: Being Safe

Students should know

  • The concepts of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and FGM, and how these can affect current and future relationships

  • How people can actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent, and how and when consent can be withdrawn (in all contexts, including online

Topic: Intimate and Sexual Relationships, Including Sexual Health

Students should know

  • How to recognise the characteristics and positive aspects of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships, which include mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex and friendship

  • That all aspects of health can be affected by choices they make in sex and relationships, positively or negatively, e.g. physical, emotional, mental, sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing

  • The facts about reproductive health, including fertility and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women

  • That there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others

  • That they have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex

  • The facts about the full range of contraceptive choices, efficacy and options available

  • The facts around pregnancy including miscarriage

  • That there are choices in relation to pregnancy (with medically and legally accurate, impartial information on all options, including keeping the baby, adoption, abortion and where to get further help)

  • How the different sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDs, are transmitted, how risk can be reduced through safer sex (including through condom use) and the importance of and facts about testing

  • About the prevalence of some STIs, the impact they can have on those who contract them and key facts about treatment

  • How the use of alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviour

  • How to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment

From September 2020 Relationships, Sex and Health Education became compulsory for all students receiving a secondary education. The primary delivery point for RSHE is PSHCE and Science lessons. Discrete, timetabled lessons are set aside for Years 7-13 once per fortnight and use guidance provided by both the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum to ensure our curriculum is relevant, accurate and inclusive for all our students. 

At Bishop Ramsey we believe that RSHE is not the sole responsibility of one subject, but that all teachers are teachers of RSHE. Our PSHCE programme is regularly reviewed and adapted to reflect local and national issues and current trends. Our wider curriculum is in a process of constant review by our specialist curriculum leaders who aim to highlight issues within their discipline and empower students to have open and accurate discussions regarding these topics. 

We believe that RSE and Health Education is about the emotional, social, and cultural development of students, and involves learning about relationships, sexual health, sexuality, healthy lifestyles, diversity and personal identity. RSE involves a combination of sharing information and exploring issues and values. RSE is not about the promotion of sexual activity; Health Education is not about the promotion of risk-taking behaviours including substance abuse.

As outlined within the Statutory Guidance, parents/carers have the right to request their child be withdrawn from all or part of sex education lessons that are delivered as part of RSHE.

Parents/carers do not have a right to withdraw their child from Relationships Education. 

Parents/carers do not have the right to withdraw their child from any sex education delivered as part of the Science curriculum. 

Parents do not have the right to withdraw their child from Health Education. 

All children will have the right to opt into sex education three terms before they turn 16 and the school will make arrangements for this to happen. In practice, this means that when a child turns 15 they have the right to be taught sex education if they want to. 

Although parents/carers have the right to request to withdraw their child from any or all of sex education as part of Relationships Education, it is our aim to encourage parents to see the value of RSHE learning and its contribution to keeping children safe, developing their emotional, social and physical wellbeing and for promoting equality and social justice. 

Should a parent decide that they do not wish their child to take part in any of these lessons, we would ask that they first speak to the Executive Headteacher to discuss their concerns. The Executive Headteacher will discuss the request with the parent/carer to fully understand and address any concerns/objections to the content of the curriculum. 

Except in exceptional circumstances, we will respect the 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. 

We will remind parents annually that the request to withdraw is still in place and invite them to confirm whether they still want it.

The lessons which, in light of our definitions (see above), are considered by the school to be ‘sex education’ are as follows:

In Year 7 the following topics are included within our definition:

  • Puberty and Body Changes
  • Period products and Sexual Advice

In Year 9 the following topics are included within our definition:

  • Contraception
  • STIs
  • Sexual Identity
  • Self-Examination
  • Human Sexual Response and Masturbation

In Year 10 the following topics are included within our definition:

  • Pornography

If parents/carers do decide to withdraw their child, they should put this in writing and address their request to the Executive Headteacher. Alternative work will be given to students who are withdrawn from sex education.

Document Title Date Download
Relationships and Sex Education Policy 31 Oct 2023 Download