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ACT response to DFE Consultation: Relationship Education is more than personal

Post date: 
Wed, 14/02/2018 - 15:00

Last week ACT submitted a reponse to the DFE call for evidence on Relationship Education/RSE. Following disucssion with members of ACT Council who represent our wider members we highlighted a number of key points.

  • If schools are to develop high quality Relationship Education/RSE then there must be clarity about the aims of the subject and its distinct purpose in the curriculum. 
  • Good Relationship education/RSE is not just about personal and individual relationships. It includes learning about our changing political and social relationships in the context of the groups and communities we belong to and how we live and work together in a pluralistic, democratic and increasingly globalised society.
  • Aspects of Relationship Education/RSE are already addressed in the curriculum including through effective Citizenship education. Provision for Relationship education/RSE in schools should take account of the requirements of the National Curriculum for Citizenship, the non-statutory DFE framework for primary Citizenship and the content addressed in GCSE Citizenship Studies where this is offered.
  • High quality Relationship Education/RSE requires well trained teachers including those with experience and/or teaching qualitications in Citizenship.
  • Any new specification of content for Relationship Education/RSE should not duplicate what is already included in the National Curriculum and GCSE content.
  • We also argued a well-planned programme of Relationship Education/RSE should be considered alongside Citizenship, a subject that already includes teaching on the themes of identity and multiple identities (social, political, global etc), community and diversity as well as knowledge of rights, justice, equalities and the law within our democratic society and how we relate to others in the wider world.

    In addition Citizenship knowledge is deepened when pupils use and apply learning in contexts that develop social and political relationships such as during campaigning, democratic deliberation (citizen juries, school or public meetings) or decision making activities (student council/student parliaments), and this requires leadership, problem solving, teamwork, collaboration, negotiation, critical thinking, oracy and debate.

    So it is important that schools are clear about:

  • what the subject of Citizenship includes
  • how the content of Citizenship addresses and contributes to Relationship Education/RSE
  • how Citizenship is distinct from but related to any provision made for learning about personal relationships as part of PSHE education.
  • When schools think about designing a curriculum that includes Relationship Education/RSE consideration should also be given to how pupils make progress in the subject from early years to post-16 and the age-appropriateness of content and topics addressed.


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