This policy is written with reference to the Trinity Catholic School Mission Statement:
“To the Glory of God we build our school on faith, love and respect.” (Mission Statement)
The Trinity Catholic School views good quality Relationships and Sex Education as vital to the physical, moral, spiritual and social development of students. Our approach to delivering it is one that combines guidance provided by the government and our own distinctive Catholic vision about what it means to be human and to live in community and relationship with others.
Definition of Relationship and Sex Education
The DfE regards Relationship and Sex Education as “…lifelong learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of marriage for family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care.” (‘Sex and Relationship Education Guidance’, DfE, 2000)
This education has three main elements: attitudes and values, personal and social skills, and knowing and understanding. As a Catholic school our rationale for Relationships and Sex Education goes further because of our Christian beliefs about God and the human person. Sexuality is a vital part of what it means to be human and, to achieve our mission, we must carefully and responsibly educate our students in Relationships and Sex Education. As outlined in ‘Dedicated to the Lifelong Growth of the Whole Person’ (‘Dedicated to the Lifelong Growth of the Whole Person’, Diocesan Guidance for Education in Relationships and Sexuality for Secondary Schools, Nottingham Diocese Education Service) we believe that:
- We are made in God’s image, Jesus is ‘Word-made-flesh’, all flesh is holy.
- Jesus’ command to love is the basis of all Christian morality.
- Humans are created out of love.
- To be human is to relate – we exist in relationship.
- We must live in ‘right relationships’ with the whole of creation.
- There is a need to overcome misunderstanding and the distortion of views and values often portrayed by the media.
The Church recognises that the central and primary role for educating young people about sex and relationships rests with parents. The school – teachers, governors and support staff- supports parents in this endeavour. Between us all it is our goal to provide positive and prudent guidance, underpinned by the faith we possess.
Aims and Objectives
We believe that ‘children and young people should be helped to develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual qualities… they should be given a positive and prudent education in matters relating to sex…children and young people have the right to be encouraged to make sound moral judgments with an informed conscience and to put them into practice by personal choice, and to know and love God better.’ (Declaration of Christian Education, para,1, II Vatican Council edited by W. Abbott 1966)
Therefore our aims are:
- To promote the biblical message that we are all created in the image of God, unique and valued by Him.
- To promote Gospel values and attitudes towards each other which centre around love, truth, justice, freedom, empathy, integrity and reconciliation.
- To assist pupils in developing an informed moral conscience regarding relationships.
- To encourage openness and mutual support in the development of personal relationships.
- To encourage an appreciation of the value of marriage and a stable family life.
- To provide age and ability appropriate understanding of human identity and sexuality, living in community with others and being members of God’s Kingdom on earth.
- To enable pupils to develop moral, personal and social skills to be able to live in right relationship with others, recognise injustice, keep themselves safe from harm and protect themselves from exploitation.
- To enable pupils to make wise decisions in their personal relationships which reflect the values of the Church.
How Relationship and Sex Education is provided
A whole school, cross curricular approach is adopted for Relationship and Sex Education, although the delivery of the curriculum will be mainly through the pastoral programme, RE and Science. The programme will be developmental, focusing in earlier years on the physical and emotional aspects of puberty, sexual feelings and respect for bodies through to more mature coverage on the meaningfulness of sexual relationships, consent, self-esteem, respect for the self and the other. A whole person approach is adopted so that discussion of relationships and sexuality is not narrowly restricted to the purely physical, biological facts. Some delivery will be in large groups, led by a senior teacher, and some will be in single sex groups. We wish to encourage a growing appreciation of the moral teachings of the Church and the important role of marriage within a committed relationship. Furthermore, we want to help to steer our students through the pressures and influences from society and the media that might negatively influence their opinions and behaviour regarding relationships and sex.
Responsibility for Providing Relationship and Sex Education
Governors have a responsibility for ensuring that there is a Relationships and Sex Education Policy which is accessible by parents and consistent with Catholic Church teachings. Where necessary, they will provide guidelines for the teaching of sensitive issues. They will ensure that the policy is reviewed every two years.
The Headteacher has oversight of the Relationships and Sex Education policy and will allocate responsibility for constructing and implementing the policy to a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Senior Leadership Team
A member of the Senior Leadership Team will write, review and monitor the implementation of the Relationships and Sex Education policy.
Progress Coordinators will choose age appropriate resources which competently deliver the necessary content of the course in an interesting, engaging and informed manner.
Form tutors will sensitively deliver the pastoral scheme of work and remain informed of British laws and Church teachings.
Subject Leaders of RE and Science will meet National Curriculum and exam board requirements as well as providing specialist support and teaching in the delivery of Relationships and Sex Education.
Monitoring and Evaluating Relationship and Sex Education
OFSTED is statutorily required under Section 10 of the School Inspections Act 1996 to evaluate and report on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at any school they inspect. This includes evaluating and commenting on a school’s sex and relationship education policy. The Diocesan Canonical Inspection may also choose to focus on this area and report accordingly. A designated member of the Senior Leadership Team will also monitor how and where provision is made to ensure that all necessary aspects are being adequately delivered and students are being taught in an environment where they feel secure and reassured.
Parents’ Right to Withdrawal
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the sex and relationship education provided at school except for those parts included in the statutory National Curriculum. The school will make alternative arrangements in such cases. The DfE will offer schools a standard pack of information for parents who withdraw their children from sex and relationship education. (Sex and Relationship Guidance, DfE) However, we maintain that it is in the best interests of the student to receive a holistic education as part of his or her education for life.
The review date for this policy is March 2020.