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Relationships and Sex Education

Children and young people must be helped, with the aid of the latest advances in psychology and the arts and science of teaching, to develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual endowments so that they may gradually acquire a mature sense of responsibility in striving endlessly to form their own lives properly and in pursuing true freedom as they surmount the vicissitudes of life with courage and constancy. Let them be given also, as they advance in years, a positive and prudent sexual education. Moreover they should be so trained to take their part in social life that properly instructed in the necessary and opportune skills they can become actively involved in various community organisations, open to discourse with others and willing to do their best to promote the common good.

- Pope Paul VI, Gravissimum Educationis, 1

The Government introduced compulsory Relationships, Sex and Health Education at Secondary level from September 2020. This is not new for us in Catholic schools as emphasis has always been placed on the development of the ‘whole person’ through our distinctive education, which seeks to form as well as inform young people in their preparation for life.

Building on the teaching at Primary school, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) aims to give our young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds. Throughout their time at St Bernadette’s students will be given opportunities in the whole curriculum but especially PHSE, Assemblies and Theology Lessons to explore families, respectful relationships including friendships, online media, being safe and intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health.
We will provide information to young people in both PHSE, PE and Science lessons to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing especially mental wellbeing, internet safety and harms, physical health and fitness, healthy eating, drugs, alcohol and tobacco and the changing adolescent body.
Our approach to RSE is rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching of the human person and presented in the framework of the Christian belief that we are created and loved by God, to love ourselves as we are made in the image and likeness of God and to understand ourselves as the basis for personal relationships. We are created to love others and to live in community with one another.

Our programme addresses the needs of young people where they are at in today’s world. The teaching includes lessons on puberty, personal hygiene, fertility, menstruation, family and friends, sexual intimacy, delaying sex, an understanding of the body, sexuality, marriage, gender, LGBT, online relationships, social media, consent, grooming, pressure, STIs, contraception and natural family planning, abortion/miscarriage, the effect of drugs and alcohol on relationships, FGM, pornography and sexual exploitation. Knowing about facts and enabling young people to explore differing viewpoints is not the same as promoting behaviour and is not incompatible with our school’s promotion of Catholic teaching. We will ensure that pupils have access to the learning they need to stay safe, healthy and understand their rights as individuals.

Much of the Sexual Relationships teaching will be taught in PSHE and Theology lessons ensuring that topics are dealt with sensitively and appropriately, whilst also providing them with the relevant facts and information, Church teaching and awareness.

We acknowledge that parents are the first teachers of their children. The school seeks to compliment parents in this partnership. Parents do have the right to withdraw from lessons on Sex Education but not from the Health or Relationships element. The science curriculum also includes content on human development, including reproduction, from which there is no right to withdraw.

rse parents booklet.pdf

Click here for the Relationships and Sex Education Policy

Click here for the Statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales on Relationships and Sex Education in Catholic Schools