Sexual Health within the RSE curriculum
The notion of sexual health encompasses much more than the activity of sex, and the World Health Organisation is much broader than sex and possible consequences;
"Sexual health, when viewed affirmatively, requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion discrimination and violence"
As part of supporting people to achieve this broad definition the Sexual Health Service is a keen supporter of ensuring young people have access to information and services that can help them remain safe and healthy. This includes preventing unintended consequences of sex, including unintended pregnancy and infection, and ensuring services are provided to those who need us. The latter includes provision of testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections and Contraception provision.
Offering a non-judgemental service and advocating an educational approach which is inclusive and supports the needs of all is very much part of who we are.
This page also has documents and links for pre-prepared sessions covering Consent, STI's, Contraception and Pornography. All / most schools in Calderdale have access to PSHE association resources which cover a far broader range of topics and resources displayed here, but hopefully these highlighted here will be helpful in delivery of your RSE work.
Consent in sexual Relationships
Consent in terms of sexual relationships should build on discussions of consent, and healthy relationships through earlier school years. For example; trust, respect, caring and good communication lay the foundations for understanding consent when it comes to sexual activity. Conversely recognition of unhealthy, abusive or exploitative relationships can help prevent harm to sexual well-being and non-consensual relationships
However, there are some important distinctions when it comes to sexual consent, not least because of the legal implications where consent is not understood or ignored.
It should also be noted that where consent teaching is undertaken then it is vital that teachers and facilitators recognise that some young people may have already had experiences which were non-consensual and this topic may bring harmful experiences to the fore. Strategies to reduce this likelihood are;
- Where school has knowledge of vulnerable pupils who may be upset by these topics take some time prior to this and offer the opportunity to undertake alternative work or support alternative provision where one to one may be more appropriate.
- Ensure pupils are aware of the topic prior to the day and should any pupil wish to discuss anything related to this prior to the lesson encourage them to contact an appropriate member of staff should they wish to do so.
- Despite preparation work, there may be occasions where a pupil does become upset or distressed due to experiences that the school or staff may be unaware of. For this reason as far as possible ensure pupils have access to immediate support, eg a member of pastoral staff being available.
- Finally ensure contact details of appropriate staff within the school are highlighted at both start and end of lesson, and external agencies for support are highlighted.
Examples lesson and plan:
The PSHE Association have produced a range of resources to support teachers in delivering consent sessions and these are listed below;
- Guidance on Teaching consent to key stage 3&4
- Supplementary Documents
- Summary of the Law
- Guidance for consent (aimed as a prosecutors guide but very useful background info for staff)
Another useful resource delaing with consent is the "Consent: Simple as Tea" video which offers a useful overview of consent, embedded in a a helpful website with other relevant information.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections are a significant public health issue with almost 470000 infections diagnosed in 2019, representing a slight increase on 2018 figures. The age group at greatest risk of infections is 15 to 24yrs which account for over 50% of infections whilst making up around 11% of the population.
- STI session (suitable for yr8/9)
- STI Lesson plan
- STI Card game
HIV specific resources (Suitable for high school, all year groups)
In terms of teenage conceptions the positive news is that 2018 saw a further fall in the teenage pregnancy rate for the 11th year in a row, which is the longest continuous fall since records began, according to the ONS. However, their is a strong link between teenage pregnancy and deprivation with rates twice as high in the most deprived areas than the least deprived areas.
This means ensuring young people having access to good information and services remains a high priority, particularly in areas where pupils are drawn from some of our more deprived areas in the borough. The attached powerpoint presentation and notes has been designed to be used from year 8/9 and covers the types of contraception available, how they work and how they can be accessed by young people.
You will notice this lesson also briefly covers consent, which aims to make the point that consent (and by implication choice) is not only a crucial aspect of maintaining positive sexual health but is also necessary for individuals to be able make informed decisions about contraception they may need and prevent unintended consequences.
- Contraception presentation
- Contraception lesson plan.
- Contraception card match game
- Contraception They Say / I Say activity
Further resources which can be useful in teaching this topic is physical examples of the different types of contraception and a number of resources are available through educational supplies including;
Pornography, and ready access to pornographic material, is an issue which often raises a great deal of concern amongst parents and schools. The former in terms of risk of exposure through smart devices and peer to peer games and applications, and latter in terms of how to approach this topic area in sensitive manner.
Whilst some trepidation to discussing pornography as part of a RSE curriculum is important recent research showed approximately half of 11 to 13yr olds had seen pornography, although most were exposed to this accidentally. This percentage rose to nearly 80% of 16/17 year olds.
Below are links to some helpful resources, including a lesson plan from Childnet which uses a mixture of powerpoint and online video clips to highlight impact of Pornography and challenge attitudes and beliefs around this. It may also be useful to consider Pornography as a part of other sessions, for example how well consent is portrayed in pornography and the impact of this on real world behaviour and understanding of relationships.
Teacher Guidance (PSHE Association)
Research Briefing (PSHE Association)
Lesson internet link (Childnet)
A couple more links which may be useful are created by two Youtubers, Hannah Witton and Tomska. The following links are to be used with caution as they contain frank discussions and information on pornography although no pornographic imagery is shown in the clips.
Hannah Witton on Porn Education