Shropshire Respect Yourself Improving SRE

The Context
The Health Development Team, managed by Kay Smallbone was first established in 2004 and included the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. The team pioneered work in schools and GPs establishing CHAT services (Confidential, Help and Advice for Teens). The team run a range of high quality training and support programmes for health and the Children and Young People's workforce. The work of the team encompasses early years health work with Sure Start Children Centres and has integrated the support for parents with evidenced based parenting programmes  and a new course  called 'Trust me I'm a parent' to address relationship and sexual health related issues. It also runs the Condom Distribution scheme.

In 2009 Alice Crutwell was appointed to develop work with schools on Relationship and Sex Education. The first year was jointly funded from Extended Schools and the Teenage Pregnancy strategy and The Transition Project completed.  In the second year the work was commissioned by Shropshire Primary Care Trust and early advice was received from Teenage Pregnancy West Midlands on developing the year 7-11 scheme of work. Shropshire Primary Care Trust is funding the third year to ensure County wide implementation and school ownership.

Strategic Context
The project involves schools advisors for PSHE, Healthy Schools and Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Speakeasy and Triple P colleagues, PSHE co-ordinators network and addressing homophobia in education group. There are close working relationships with the School Nurse service, and TYS (Targeted Youth Support) and the voluntary sector Banardos, Relateen, Samaritans, and Womens' Aid.

The intervention

  • Developing and implementing a whole school approach
  • Producing comprehensive lesson plans and teachers guidance year 6 -11
  • Improving teachers skills and confidence
  • Increasing pupil's skills and confidence
  • Supporting a school and home partnership
  • Securing support from school governors
  • Strengthening links with onsite sexual health service

Key aspects of Shropshire Respect Yourself Approach:

School Commitment

The Respect Yourself Scheme of work requires schools to commit to one hour for five/six consecutive weeks in a year.  We ask heads to sign a commitment before proceeding. In two secondaries we have not made the materials available as PSHE is delivered in tutorial time only or in drop down days. We continue to work with the school's senior staff and are positive that the structural changes will be made.

Cross Phase Planning
The team have been especially pleased with the cross phase work for the RSE Transition Project, with six secondary's hosting an evening meeting to introduce the RSE Transition project with cluster and feeder primaries. For schools this has involved a repositioning of the RSE agenda, placing it much more centrally as an integral part of health and wellbeing, mainstreaming RSE as part and parcel of Transition planning.

We believe getting the initial school commitment and buy in at senior level is essential prior to addressing teachers' skills and confidence and providing the resource.

Whole School Approach

1. Recognising that staff, not just teaching staff are involved in RSE, in handling playground incidents, responding to use of homophobic language, or questions, anxieties and concerns. Training for whole school staff is been provided.  At a practical level the use of a question box has been developed, with some primary schools having an RSE box for the whole school, for use by the dinner time supervisor, Teaching Assistants and teaching staff. The vision is to ensure congruence for young people between the taught RSE curriculum and the lived curriculum.

2. Within both primary and secondary it is especially important to ensure that incident management, pastoral systems and child protection practice are aligned to and consistent with RSE curriculum delivery. Work is done to support governors and heads to cross reference and amend related policies. 

3. Significant changes have been achieved when whole school training is provided, followed by the PSHE Co-ordinator developing a school action plan, (including review of policy, consultation with parents and pupils and training to develop a specialist RSE team). This has been supported by the Head liaising with curriculum committee, governors and putting RSE Transition on the area head agenda.

Pupil Impact
Some say it is impossible or at least difficult to measure the impact of curriculum delivery. Our baseline assessment tracking methodology is simple and quick. It demonstrates that a planned, sequenced delivery of lessons, for one hour over 5/6 weeks results in significant increased confidence, knowledge and networks of support.

We have previously provided a summary of the baseline assessment and an example of analysis. We have now submitted the analysis for eleven schools, 230 Year 6 pupils to illustrate the richness of the data.  In addition we have provided an analysis and feedback for year 6 and year 9 pupils using the Review and reflect exercise. This captures in pupils own words the impact and change that they attribute to the RSE module. 

Two case studies are included in the Respect Yourself resource in Year 9 and 10 to  illustrate the impact achieved with  staff training and support , the subsequent  changes made impacting positively on vulnerable pupils.

Structural School Impact

  • timetable changes,
  • additional time being allocated to RSE,
  • increased budget allocation,
  • staff release for training,
  • specialist RSE/PSHE teams being developed
  • agenda items for curriculum committee  and area heads meetings
  • monitoring from Confidential Health Advice for Teenagers (CHAT)  feedback to governors, SMT, pastoral  team

The Shropshire Respect Yourself Improving RSE Programme was the winner of the Pamela Sheridan Innovation in SRE Award 2012.

For further information or enquiries contact:

Kay Smallbone
Health Development Manager
Shropshire Council