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DFE says RSE and Health education should complement Citizenship

Post date: 
Wed, 27/02/2019 - 10:30

Yesterday the Department for Education (DFE) released draft guidelines for schools to support their proposal to introduce Relationships and Health education from 2020.

The guidance clarifies that the new subjects - Relationships and Health education in primary schools, and Relationships and Sex education and Health education in secondary schools - which are due to become a mandatory part of the basic curriculum, must complement and not duplicate existing National Curriculum subjects of Citizenship, Science, PE and Computing.

The DFE guidance states,

'Schools are free to determine how to deliver the content set out in this guidance, in the context of a broad and balanced curriculum’. 

‘The lead teacher will need to work closely with colleagues in related curriculum areas to ensure Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education programmes complement, and do not duplicate, content covered in national curriculum subjects such as citizenship, science, computing and PE.'

In a section describing how schools should plan 'delivery and teaching' of the new subjects, the guidance says,

’Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education complement several national curriculum subjects. Where schools are teaching the national curriculum, they should look for opportunities to draw links between the subjects and integrate teaching where appropriate. There continues to be no right of withdrawal from any part of the national curriculum’. 

’Schools need to consider how they can ensure that Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education complement existing national curriculum subjects and whole school approaches to wellbeing and health. For example… citizenship can complement all of the new subjects in the coverage of law.’ 

The DFE plan to introduce the new subjects in the autumn of 2020 subject to the appropriate parliamentary legislative process being completed in time.

Liz Moorse, ACT Chief Executive, 'We are pleased that the DFE has listened to the views of ACT teachers and recognised and clarified the relationship between the proposed new subjects and the National Curriculum so that duplication of subject teaching is avoided. It is really important that teachers and schools consider, plan and build from their current provision and work out what is right for their students and the community they serve.

Citizenship teaches essential knowledge about the law, democracy, citizen rights and responsibilities, equality, finance and economy, communities, identities, critical media literacy and resilience. Most importantly citizenship provides pupils with real experiences of collaborating with others to take action to address politial and social problems and issues and try to improve the world around them. This can have a hugely positive effect on self confidence and self esteem and ensure young people are involved as democratic citizens in holding those in power to account for decisions that affect them. Citizenship eduction is essential for all children growing up in today's world. To help teachers develop their curriculum, we are working with ACT's council of teachers to plan a conference to give teachers practical tools and support to address such issues and ensure they are in line with new Ofsted expectations.'

Planning and developing a coherent curriculum will be the subject of a one day CPD conference, 'Citizenship Matters!'  at the UCL, Institute of Education that ACT is organising on Friday 5 July and is open to all primary, secondary and special school teachers.

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