A consultation on the revised ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Guidance’ for schools in Wales has been launched today by Education Minister Kirsty Williams.
Developed in line with the recommendations from the expert panel report published in December last year, the new draft guidance will support schools in implementing a ‘whole school approach’ to RSE; taking into account curriculum, wider school policies, external sources of support and case studies demonstrating best practice.
A name change from Sex and Relationship Education to Relationship and Sexuality Education has also been actioned through the draft guidance, in order to better support schools in engaging with a range of important topics; such as healthy relationships, domestic violence and LGBT issues.
The announcement was made during a visit to Glyncollen Primary School in Swansea, a pioneer school on the group developing the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning and Experience of the new curriculum.
During the visit, the Minister joined in with the intergenerational group the school has adopted, called ‘Fun with Friends’. This innovative group brings together the school’s pupils and older people from the local community, where they are given tasks to work on together, encouraging both parties to interact and learn from each other.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
“Last year, I announced that we would not wait until the new curriculum to make changes to how RSE is taught in our schools, which is why I’ve decided to revise the current guidance for schools around RSE now.
“Our new guidance will help schools prepare for the changes to how RSE will be taught in our new curriculum by providing them with additional advice and support regarding implementing a whole school approach to RSE.
“High quality Relationships and Sexuality Education is at the heart of our Prosperity for All and Education in Wales: Our National Mission strategies.
“The skills learners develop through RSE gives them the tools needed to navigate the wide ranging and fast changing influences that can impact on their ability to form healthy relationships.
“It is the lifelong relationships we forge in our early years, such as family and friends, which can provide the stability, security and support needed to maintain well-being.
“I strongly encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation, to make sure that we get RSE right for our pupils.”
Expert Panel chair and Professor of Childhood Studies at Cardiff University, Emma Renold said:
“I am delighted to hear that the Welsh Government has launched this consultation, and that the revised draft guidance for schools has been informed by and is embracing the expert panel’s evidenced-based vision to transform Relationships and Sexuality Education in Wales.
“Embedded in a whole school approach and underpinned by the core principles of rights, equity, inclusivity, protection and empowerment, this guidance, if accompanied by effective professional development, and the time to deliver, has the potential ensure a relevant, engaging and high quality RSE that meets the needs of all children and young people"
Glyncollen Head Teacher, Anna Bolt said:
“As a pioneer school within the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning and Experience developing group, we have been given a unique opportunity to trial innovative methods to change how RSE is taught in Welsh schools.
“Through our intergenerational group, ‘Fun with Friends’, we’ve been able to draw on the local community in order to teach our pupils how to form meaningful relationships, encouraging cohesion and fighting against isolation within the community.”