What do pupils need to learn? Thoughts on the 'call for evidence'

Updating RSE - Government 'call for evidence' 

 

What is the ‘call for evidence’?
The 'call for evidence' on RSE is a Government consultation with 7 questions that must be answered each in up to 250 words and submitted online by 12th February 2018. There is a separate survey for adults (professionals and parents) and one for young people. 


How can I make an effective response?

  • Use local examples – the more you can personalise and localise your response the better as this will add to the range of evidence submitted.
  • Quote personal, local, national and international evidence – it is a call for evidence, so do quote the source of your information – even if it is based on your experience or from a small number of schools locally.
  • Use language and principles from our statement of commitment – this is based on evidence and is set out in the Sex Education Forum poster


What are the questions?
There are 7 questions in the survey for adults. A selection of the questions are provided below with some thoughts from the Sex Education Forum to help you think through your response. 

 

Question 1: Thinking about relationships education in primary schools, what do you believe are the three most important subject areas that should be taught for different age groups/key stages and why. Please include any considerations or evidence which informed your choices.

Thoughts from the Sex Education Forum

By the end of primary school what outcomes do you want for pupils?

  • To be prepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty?
  • To recognise gender stereotypes and that everyone is unique and equal?
  • To know that bodies vary and some parts are private?
  • To know the difference between safe and unsafe touching?
  • To have the confidence and vocabulary to report abuse including correct terms for genitalia?
  • To recognise types of bullying and how to challenge it?
  • To appreciate that families vary but care-giving is central?

 

Question 2: Thinking about relationships and sex education in secondary schools, what do you believe are the three most important subject areas that should be taught for different age groups/key stages and why. Please include any considerations or evidence which informed your choices.

Thoughts from the Sex Education Forum

By the end of the secondary school what outcomes do you want for pupils?

  • Be confident in their ability to make and maintain positive relationships?
  • Able to identify and articulate emotions?
  • Feel in control of their sexual behaviour and decisions?
  • Able to actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent?
  • Be critically aware of how sexually explicit media present an unreal picture of sexual behaviour?
  • Recognise how gender stereotypes can normalise violent or non-consensual behaviour?
  • Be able to take responsibility for their own physical, and emotional sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing?
  • Know how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment?

 

Question 5 and 6. Thinking about PSHE in secondary schools, what do you believe are the three most important subject areas that should be taught and why? Please also include your reasons for choosing each subject or evidence to support your suggestions.

Thoughts from the Sex Education Forum

Relationships and sex education is an essential component of PSHE, and should be an identifiable part of planned, timetabled PSHE education. The Sex Education Forum is calling for PSHE to be made statutory.  RSE is best delivered as part of a wider curriculum promoting health, resilience, confidence, respect, and personal safety, both online and offline. It also mitigates the risk that relationships education and RSE will be delivered by some schools purely through ‘drop-down’ or off-timetable days, which Ofsted has highlighted as problematic.

The impact and effectiveness of statutory RSE and PSHE also depends heavily on the competence of teachers. Government must commit a quantifiable resource to training so that every primary and secondary school in England can access basic training in good practice RSE and PSHE. A viable career pathway for specialist PSHE teachers will be best supported by both RSE and PSHE being statutory. 

 

Sources of evidence

UNESCO (2018) International technical guidance on sexuality education; an evidence-informed approach (Revised edition) 

House of Commons Education Committee (2015) Life lessons, PSHE and SRE in schools 

Ofsted (2013) Not yet good enough; PSHE education in schools

Sex Education Forum (2015) SRE the evidence