In their recently updated guidance for schools on the Protected Characteristics (see this post), Ofsted affirmed the expectations on schools with regards to the new statutory RSHE curriculum. It said:
From 1 September 2020, relationships education is compulsory for all primary school pupils and relationships and sex education (RSE) is compulsory for all secondary school pupils.
In 2020, the DfE published a statement that schools should begin teaching RSE and health education by summer term 2021. This requirement has not changed. However, in light of the disruption to and partial closure of schools caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the DfE has provided further clarification of the legal requirements, and where schools have flexibility, in the ‘Schools coronavirus operational guidance’.
The DfE is aware that the partial closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic will impact on the extent to which some schools can meet all of the expectations in the DfE’s statutory guidance, which go beyond the statutory requirements (see the ‘Requirements and expectations in the DfE’s statutory guidance’ section).
All schools are required to have taught some of the new curriculum, and to have published a policy and consulted parents on this, during the academic year 2020/21.
Inspectors will be sympathetic to schools that, as a result of the pandemic, have not been able to fully implement the new curriculum, provided that they:
- have had regard to the statutory guidance
- have a good rationale for prioritising what they have implemented
- have clear and effective plans to address any gaps before the end of the 2021/22 academic year
The DfE’s statutory guidance contains information on what schools should do and sets out the requirements they must comply with when teaching relationships education, RSE and health education. If schools do not follow parts of the DfE’s statutory guidance that state they should (or should not) do something, they will need to have good reasons for this.
Mindful of the pressures that many schools have faced this year, Ten Ten is offering early access to new schools subscribing to our Relationship and Health Education programme for primary schools, Life to the Full. We will give access to a 2021/22 subscription from Monday 7 June 2021 free-of-charge. This means that you can:
- Use our Parent Consultation resources to engage your parents
- Use our Teacher Training resources to get your staff curriculum-ready
- Plan your curriculum in readiness for September 2021