Relationships, sex & health education (RSHE)

Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. In this environment, children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. This is why the Department for Education have made Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools in England and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools, as well as making Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools.

In primary schools, the intent is to put in place the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online. This will sit alongside the essential understanding of how to be healthy.

Relationships, sex and health education at Gusford

At Gusford Primary School, we aim to equip our children with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills needed to become confident young adults and good citizens of the future. This includes an awareness of how to build and maintain healthy relationships and how to keep oneself and others safe.

We are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils at Gusford Primary School and strategies that support this are our Thrive and Emotional Learning Support provision and pastoral small group support, alongside quality teaching and learning about awareness and management of mental health through the RSHE curriculum.

What is RSE and why is it important?

RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) is about the emotional, social and cultural development of pupils, and involves learning about relationships, sexual health, sexuality, healthy lifestyles, diversity and personal identity. It is about understanding the importance of loving and caring relationships. RSE involves a combination of sharing information, and exploring issues and values.

Top tips for talking to your child

Talking to your child about their feelings, relationships and changing body is important. Building good channels of communication throughout childhood can help your child to communicate with you as future issues of increasing seriousness arise.

Your child needs to know that it's OK to talk, and that you're happy to talk. They will learn this through your body language, tone and manner when you talk so try to behave as you would in any other topic of conversation.

Below are simple strategies to make talking about feelings, relationships and the body more comfortable:

✔ Start by talking about something that you both find comfortable, such as feelings and emotions.

✔ Ask your child what they think their friends know/think about the topic, as this provides a way to talk about your child’s views indirectly.

✔ Avoid ‘The Chat’. Talk about these topics little and often over everyday events like playing, drawing, whilst driving in the car or watching TV. This can help to normalise the conversation, easing uncomfortable feelings.

✔ Reading a story book containing relevant content is a helpful way to stimulate discussion with your child.

✔ Don’t leave it too late. Start talking about relevant topics before you feel your child is approaching a level of curiosity about it, so you establish strong channels of communication in readiness.

✔ Be prepared to listen. Your child will want to have their voice heard without feeling judged.

Feeling listened to will encourage your child to talk about issues in the future.

✔ If your child asks you a question you are not sure how to answer, don’t panic! Let them know that you will answer it at another time, making sure you remember to. Sometimes a simple answer can provide a sufficient response.

✔ Try to listen calmly, even if what they say surprises or concerns you. Remember that it is good that they are comfortable to discuss issues with you. They need to trust that you will not respond negatively.

Make sure your child knows they can always talk to you anytime, about anything.

support for families

DfE guidance for parents

Department for Education Guide for Primary School Parents

Outreach Youth

Outreach youth is a small but dynamic youth work charity that supports and works with young people aged 11 to 25 across Suffolk. For over 10 years, Outreach Youth have been supporting and working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer and Questioning (LGBT*Q+) young people, their friends and families across Suffolk.

The charity’s website has a helpful guide for parents who may be unsure how best to respond to their child when they ask questions about gender and sexuality at any age.