Relationships and Sex Education

Curriculum Aims

At Attleborough Academy, the aim of Relationships and Sex Education is to give students the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships. Students should know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage, civil partnership or other type of committed relationship.

The RSE course is highlighted and embedded in the PSHE Curriculum and can be easily picked out as those elements are colour coded for easy reference by students and parents.

It is also taught by two subject specialists and delivered sensitively taking into consideration the age and status of the students in the class.

In some cases, the specific background of the student will be discussed with all parties who have an interest in the needs of the young person in question. This will allow discussion to determine how this programme can be tailored to the specific needs of that student. This can usually be done through the Student Support Team. In all cases however, regardless of the student's situation, we are determined to deliver and tailor the RSE course to suit the student specific needs, being sensitive and inclusive at all times. 

RSE Snake

Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

At KS3 and KS4 students will cover 5 main areas of RSE


In this area of learning, we focus on different types of committed stable relationships. How friendship and relationships are a massive contributor to human happiness, and their importance for raising children. What marriage is, including its 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 important relationship choice and why it must be freely entered into. Also the characteristics and legal status of other types of long term relationships.

Students will know how to:

  • Determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy.
  • Be able to judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe.
  • How to seek help advice, including reporting concerns about others if needed.


Respectful Relationships including Friendships

The focus is on what it means to be kind and caring, not just through a classroom setting but in their own relationships and community. The central role that kindness, honesty, respect, trust, generosity play in the overall happiness of a human being, and a human lifetime. These represent what we feel are the fundamentals of relationships. This understanding is placed in all contexts both offline and online. Practical steps they can take to develop characteristics that can improve or support respectful, kind and compassionate relationships rooted in the care of one person for another.

 To be clear on how stereotypes, particular based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability can cause damage. Here we are looking at teaching the diversity and difference in relationships. The explicit teaching of tolerance, that in school and wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others and that in turn they should show respect, including for people in positions of authority, and tolerance of other people’s beliefs.

We also teach how to manage conflict and reconciliation and ending relationships, this includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship. In a nutshell this is about what can go wrong in a relationship and how to handle it. To this end understanding what constitutes sexual violence and sexual harassment and why these are always unacceptable and the legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (Particularly with references to the protected characteristic’s as defined in the Equality Act of 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal. 

Being Safe

Concepts of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation, and how these can affect current and future relationships. In lessons we teach about warning signs and flags so that students are aware and scripted to deal with these situations inclusive of signposting to relevant agencies that can help. Also 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).

Online Media

Such an influential part of the student’s life is lived online. Pupils should know that sometimes people behave differently online, including pretending to be someone they are not. Students should know what their rights and responsibilities are, including the expectations of behaviour applying to online and offline life. Understanding the risks, including any material shared online and the difficulty that a person may face when trying to remove something that is compromising. Not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them. Where to get support or report material and manage issues that may occur online.

The deep impact on wellbeing and mental health that viewing harmful content online may present. The stated view that watching sexually explicit material often represents a distorted view of sexual behaviours and can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others, and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners.

The law relating to sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children is against the law). Finally, to understand how data is shared and generated, collected and used online. This part of the course is also mirrored in Computer Science in Year 7, and constantly reinforced when needed to other year groups.

Intimate and Sexual relationships including sexual health.

This area of learning is dominated by its focus on relationships, friendships, mutual respect, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook. With sex placed in the context of friendship and humanity. 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.

Students will learn about the facts about reproductive health, including fertility and the potential impact of lifestyle on fertility for men and women. Also that there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure, including understanding peer pressure, resisting pressure and not pressurising others. Giving students the confidence to say ‘no’ that they have a choice to delay sex or to enjoy intimacy without sex. The facts about the full range of contraceptive choices and options available. The facts around pregnancy including miscarriage.

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. That the prevalence of some STIs and 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. From where and whom to get further advice, including how and where to access confidential sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment.

The Right to be excused from sex education

Parents have the right to request that their child be withdrawn from some or all of sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE. The Academy, before granting any such request, will require the Head teacher or Designated Safeguarding Lead to discuss the request with the parent and, as appropriate, with the child to ensure that their wishes are understood and to clarify the nature and purpose of the curriculum.

Following the discussions, except in exceptional circumstances, the Academy 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 Academy will make arrangements to provide the child with sex education during one of those terms.

The Head of Faculty will ensure that where a pupil is excused from sex education, the pupil will receive appropriate, purposeful education during the period of withdrawal.

There is no right to withdraw from the national curriculum.

Statutory Guidance

The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 make Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for all pupils receiving secondary education. The regulations also make Health Education compulsory in Academies.

Resources and Further Reading

RSE Policy 2021



The Equality Act of 2010

Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0 to 25 Years

Alternative Provision

Mental Health and behaviour in schools

Preventing and tackling bullying

Cyberbullying: Advice for headteachers and school staff

Advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying

Sexual Violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges

Promoting fundamental British Values as part of the SMSC in schools

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