Relationships & Health Education
We whole-heartedly embody the Department for Education’s assertion that “Effective teaching should aim to reduce stigma attached to health issues, in particular those to do with mental wellbeing”. At Avenue Primary Academy, the aim of teaching pupils about physical health and mental wellbeing is to give them the information that they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing. It should enable them to recognise what is normal and what is an issue in themselves and others and, when issues arise, know how to seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources. We believe that physical health and mental wellbeing are interlinked, and it is important that pupils understand that good physical health contributes to good mental wellbeing, and vice versa.
We work tirelessly to engender an atmosphere that encourages openness; within lessons, pupils feel that they can check their understanding and seek any necessary help and advice as they gain knowledge about how to promote good health and wellbeing. It is important to note, that schools have flexibility to design and plan age-appropriate subject content and at Avenue Primary Academy, we embrace the opportunity to adapt and personalise year group overviews, to effectively support the identified needs of each cohort, based on pupil questionnaires and previous teachers’ knowledge.
Encompassed within our Health and Wellbeing curriculum, sits our focus on Relationships and Health (RHE), which is a statutory scheme of work created in response to the London Borough of Sutton’s priority of tackling the high number of reported incidents of domestic abuse in the area (The Sutton Plan, 2019.). It has been acknowledged that Domestic Abuse cannot be addressed in isolation and should be considered within the wider Safeguarding Agenda. This scheme aims to be part of early intervention and preventative work with our families and children in order to support the children to form positive relationships.
We believe a focus on Healthy Relationships in conjunction with Health Education will equip children with the strategies and skills they need to form positive relationships throughout their lives, seek support when needed, provide support to others and make informed decisions in how they choose to respond to challenging situations. Children already experiencing challenging family circumstances can be taught how to keep themselves safe and seek the appropriate support. They can also be taught how to choose and manage healthy relationships in the future and to recognise and seek help if future relationships (both in person and online) become unhealthy.
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our Health and Wellbeing lessons, which take place once a week. Teachers understand the importance of developing a safe space to ensure that our pupils feel empowered to engage in sometimes difficult and personal discussions. We encourage pupils to share their thoughts through a variety of learning experiences: such as role-play, concept cartoons, question boxes and by creating posters to educate friends and relatives. Our Health and Wellbeing working walls serve to display each class’ weekly knowledge and skill focus, complete with comments from the children sourced during reflection time, when they are given further opportunities to offer thoughts on our current topic strand. We also acknowledge that extra reassurance and support is needed towards the end of the Summer Term, where pupils begin their transition to a new class. A robust transition plan is in place to support all children with a primary focus to lower anxiety triggered by change.
It is vitally important that we ensure Health and Wellbeing lessons are taught early in the day, so that pupils are given the opportunity to disclose potential safeguarding risks and can therefore be adequately supported in line with the school’s safeguarding procedures.
In our Health and Wellbeing scheme of learning, objectives are split across three different topics: Relationships Education, Physical Health and Wellbeing, and Sensitive issues. Each topic encompasses its own teaching strands.
- Families and people who care for me
- Online relationships
- Caring relationships
- Respectful relationships, including consent
- Being Safe
Physical Health and Wellbeing:
- Mental Wellbeing
- Healthy Eating
- Basic first aid
- Internet safety and harms
- Physical health and fitness
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Changing adolescent body
Prevent, radicalisation, child-on-child abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), grooming, child trafficking, FGM, gangs, knife crime.
When developing lesson plans, we recognise that thought must be given to ensuring lessons are accessible to all pupils, including those with SEND; who are some of our most vulnerable pupils, and allow for progression as the children move up the school. As a result, topic strands will often include objectives for more than one phase, meaning that they are revisited several times throughout your child’s primary schooling to allow for the development of knowledge and skills at an age-appropriate level.
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE - Year 5 only). Sex Education is not compulsory in primary schools. However, there is a statutory requirement to teach pupils about relationships and health, including puberty. The national curriculum for science also includes subject content in related areas, such as the main external body parts, the human body as it grows from birth to old age (including puberty) and reproduction in some plants and animals.
The Department for Education (DfE) recommends that all primary schools should have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. The DfE recommends that both boys and girls are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and – drawing on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science – how a baby is conceived and born.
In Year 5, pupils are taught the following non-statutory objectives:
- The facts of the human life cycle, including sexual intercourse.
- How conception occurs in humans.
- About the link between changes at puberty, sexual intercourse and the start of a baby.
- About the stages of development of a baby in the uterus.
It is abundantly evident that our Health and Wellbeing (RHE/RSE) curriculum has had an immensely positive impact on the pupils at Avenue Primary Academy. The promotion of pupils’ self-control and ability to self-regulate has enabled them to become confident in their ability to achieve well and persevere even when they encounter setbacks or when their goals are distant, and to respond calmly and rationally to setbacks and challenges.
As a result of their lessons, teachers have noticed an improvement in children’s understanding and identification of their own and others' feelings, which they are able to express with confidence. We have seen children discussing teamwork with their peers and the importance of it while playing. The children are now able to identify when they need help and are more confident to ask for this. We have also seen a big impact on how the children are using and treating their learning environment. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, there has been a decrease in broken resources and areas are kept tidier.
The impact of the implementation of RHE as part of our Health and Wellbeing curriculum, has been that safeguarding has been further embedded within everything we do at Avenue Primary Academy. By addressing these issues within the curriculum, led by teachers who have had appropriate training, support and been provided with age-appropriate, quality-assured materials, our pupils are being further supported to keep themselves and others safe from a range of potential risks.
Our integrated, whole-school approach to the teaching and promotion of health and wellbeing, continues to have a positive impact on behaviour and attainment, at Avenue Primary Academy.
Use the links below to access the Relationship and Health overviews.
Use the links below to view the Relationship and Health Road Maps: