Relationships & Sex Education

Aims Of The Relationship & Sex Education Programme

The aim of the RSE curriculum is to enable children to develop feelings of self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, sympathy and empathy. Developing these skills will enable them to make informed choices about their lives and relationships now and in the future. RSE is rooted in the context of our school community; working in partnership with families, we generate an atmosphere in which students can ask questions and discuss matters without embarrassment and receive answers at a level appropriate to their development and understanding. Children will also know where they can access additional support and guidance on related issues.  

The Relationship and Sex Education curriculum aims to form the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships including:

  • Families and people who care for me

  • Caring friendships

  • Respectful relationships

  • Online relationships

  • Being safe

These areas of learning are taught within the context of family life taking care to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances. Children understand that families can include single parent families, LGBTQ+ parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents/carers amongst other structures.  

The Statutory Guidance for Relationships, Sex and Health Education may be found at here.

The Health Education curriculum aims to teach students about the importance of both physical health and mental wellbeing. This includes: 

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Internet safety and harms
  • Healthy eating
  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  • Health and prevention
  • Basic first aid
  • Puberty and adolescence 

Our Approach

We encourage and support students to build positive relationships and develop their sense of self-respect and self-worth.  This is done by acknowledging the value of each individual pupil and reflecting an understanding of the families that make up the Van Gogh community.  We expect students to demonstrate respect and sensitivity towards others through their understanding of diversity and difference.  Our approach considers students’ knowledge and awareness of the issues being addressed.

Modern life has created significant challenges for current generations of children and the RSE curriculum acknowledges the important part that school can play in preparing children to navigate their world. Forming positive relationships is a vital part of this process including the relationships that we build as a school with students and their families. pupils must also learn to take responsibility for their actions and understand the consequences of their choices now and into adulthood.  They are supported to understand how to live life happily, safely and successfully through an awareness of mental and physical wellbeing.  By preparing our children for their lives ahead, we are supporting pupils to reach their full potential.

Statutory Requirements

The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships Education and Health Education compulsory for all pupils in primary education.  The requirement on schools to protect against discrimination is laid out in the Equality Act 2010.  No pupil can be withdrawn from the content of the Relationship Education and Health Education curricula. 

Sex Education is not a legal requirement at the primary phase. However, content related to puberty forms part of the Health Education curriculum and reproduction is covered in the National Curriculum for Science, where there is a statutory requirement to cover. The Van Gogh Primary RSE curriculum has been created using best practice guidelines. Our curriculum includes some additional (non-statutory) lessons in Year 6 only to support children in their understanding.



To support our effective delivery in RSE and DATE we use the 'Christopher Winter Project' (CWP) planning and resources. These are supported with planning and resources from the PHSE Association. The CWP RSE and DATE Curriculum Overview is outlined below.

Where the Relationship Education and Health Education curricula can be given context within another subject area, the topics may be taught in conjunction with other material.  The table below sets out how content is taught across our school.  The underlying rationale of the RSE curriculum is that the principles underpin all areas of the curriculum.  Therefore, opportunities to discuss issues such as relationships, friendships or healthy lifestyles may arise in any subject from English or Science, PE or Computing.  Teachers will explore potential challenges and coping strategies as children encounter them, in an age appropriate manner.  

The RSE curriculum has also been designed to promote mental wellbeing and the development of personal attributes which match our school values, Respect, Exploration, Ambition, Drive, Collaboration and Integrity.  A Van Gogh Primary value is highlighted every term and referred to across assemblies, behaviour systems and within the daily routines of our school.


The Right To Withdraw From Sex Education

Families have the right to request that children will be excused from Sex Education lessons that go beyond the statutory content of the Science, Relationship Education and Health Education curriculum.  To support families who have concerns, a meeting is held each year to give more information about the specific lessons and the resources used.   

Requests from families of children to whom this applies, must be in writing and addressed to the Headteacher.  The Statutory Guidance states that all requests at primary phase will automatically be accepted. Families will receive a written response from the Headteacher to confirm this is the case. Class teachers will work alongside families to make alternative arrangements in these circumstances. 

At Van Gogh Primary, parents have the right to withdraw children from one lesson in Year 6 only.

Teaching And Learning

Teachers use the resources that have been carefully selected to ensure that they are age appropriate and deliver the curriculum effectively. Approaches will vary with the materials to be used and the objectives of the lessons but will generally be pupil centred, interactive and involve discussion and group work.  

Typically, the content of the RSE curriculum will be taught by class teachers in class or through assemblies. External agencies may also be used to bring additional expertise. In these situations, pupils will be prepared by their class teachers.

Lessons will not always be named as ‘RSE’. The RSE curriculum is embedded within the school’s wider curriculum and often taught within the broader curriculum.  Issues and themes will frequently be identified by pupils as they are introduced to discussions in PSCHE lessons.  

To support teachers in their role, training on the delivery of RSE is included in our professional development calendar. With Janis Marsh (PSHE, EHWB and Healthy Schools Coordinator London Borough of Lambeth) working closely with the school and the PSCHE Lead.


All RSE discussions take place in a safe environment with clear ground rules laid out for all students and staff. Teachers should encourage all pupils to discuss their concerns with an appropriate adult.  Teachers should make it clear to pupils the level of confidentiality that they can offer.

Due to the guidelines in the Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy, teachers cannot offer or guarantee absolute confidentiality:

Teachers need to be aware that effective RSE, which brings an understanding of what is, and what is not acceptable in a relationship, can lead to disclosure of a child protection issue. Pupils need to be reassured that their best interests will be maintained. This could lead to child protection action.

Relationship Education

By the end of primary school students should know

Families and people who care about me

That families are important for children growing up because they can give love, security and stability

The characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for children and other family members, the importance of spending time together and sharing each other’s lives

That others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care

That stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types, are at the heart of happy families, and are important for children’s security as they grow up

That marriage represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong

How to recognise if family relationships are making them feel unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed

Caring friendships

How important friendships are in making us feel happy and secure, and how people choose and make friends

The characteristics of friendships, including mutual respect, truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, trust, sharing interests and experiences and support with problems and difficulties

That healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded

That most friendships have ups and downs, and that these can often be worked through so that the friendship is repaired or even strengthened, and that resorting to violence is never right

How to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable, managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to seek help or advice from others, if needed

Respectful relationships

The importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs

Practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships

The conventions of courtesy and manners

The importance of self-respect and how this links to their own happiness

That in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including those in positions of authority

About different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help

What a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive

The importance of permission-seeking and giving in relationships with friends, peers and adults

Online relationships

That people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not

That the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-to face relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous

The rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them

How to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met

How information and data is shared and used online

Being safe

What sorts of boundaries are appropriate in friendships with peers and others (including in a digital context)

About the concept of privacy and the implications of it for both children and adults; including that it is not always right to keep secrets if they relate to being safe

That each person’s body belongs to them, and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact

How to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not know

How to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe or feeling bad about any adult

How to ask for advice or help for themselves or others, and to keep trying until they are heard

How to report concerns or abuse, and the vocabulary and confidence needed to do so

Where to get advice e.g. family, school and/or other sources

Health Education

By the end of primary school students should know

Mental wellbeing

that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health

that there is a normal range of emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, nervousness) and scale of emotions that all humans experience in relation to different experiences and situations

how to recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and others’ feelings

how to judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate

the benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation, voluntary and service-based activity on mental wellbeing and happiness

simple self-care techniques, including the importance of rest, time spent with friends and family and the benefits of hobbies and interests

isolation and loneliness can affect children and that it is very important for children to discuss their feelings with an adult and seek support

that bullying (including cyberbullying) has a negative and often lasting impact on mental wellbeing

where and how to seek support (including recognising the triggers for seeking support), including whom in school they should speak to if they are worried about their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing or ability to control their emotions (including issues arising online)

it is common for people to experience mental ill health. For many people who do, the problems can be resolved if the right support is made available, especially if accessed early enough

Internet safety and harms

that for most people the internet is an integral part of life and has many benefits

about the benefits of rationing time spent online, the risks of excessive time spent on electronic devices and the impact of positive and negative content online on their own and others’ mental and physical wellbeing

how to consider the effect of their online actions on others and know how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online and the importance of keeping personal information private

why social media, some computer games and online gaming, for example, are age restricted

that the internet can also be a negative place where online abuse, trolling, bullying and harassment can take place, which can have a negative impact on mental health

how to be a discerning consumer of information online including understanding that information, including that from search engines, is ranked, selected and targeted

where and how to report concerns and get support with issues online

Physical health and fitness

the characteristics and mental and physical benefits of an active lifestyle

the importance of building regular exercise into daily and weekly routines and how to achieve this; for example walking or cycling to school, a daily active mile or other forms of regular, vigorous exercise

the risks associated with an inactive lifestyle (including obesity)

how and when to seek support including which adults to speak to in school if they are worried about their health

Healthy eating

what constitutes a healthy diet (including understanding calories and other nutritional content)

the principles of planning and preparing a range of healthy meals

the characteristics of a poor diet and risks associated with unhealthy eating (including, for example, obesity and tooth decay) and other behaviours (e.g. the impact of alcohol on diet or health)

Drugs, alcohol and tobacco

·       the facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use and drug-taking

Health and prevention

how to recognise early signs of physical illness, such as weight loss, or unexplained changes to the body

about safe and unsafe exposure to the sun, and how to reduce the risk of sun damage, including skin cancer

the importance of sufficient good quality sleep for good health and that a lack of sleep can affect weight, mood and ability to learn

about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene and dental flossing, including regular check-ups at the dentist

about personal hygiene and germs including bacteria, viruses, how they are spread and treated, and the importance of handwashing

the facts and science relating to allergies, immunisation and vaccination

Basic first aid

how to make a clear and efficient call to emergency services if necessary

concepts of basic first-aid, for example dealing with common injuries, including head injuries

Changing adolescent body

key facts about puberty and the changing adolescent body, particularly from age 9 through to age 11, including physical and emotional changes

about menstrual wellbeing including the key facts about the menstrual cycle




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