Consulting with staff and pupils on relationship and sex education

Posted by Ewa Jozefkowicz on Nov 1, 2019 9:11:07 AM

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Requirements for RSE are changing from September 2020. If you're updating your curriculum or policy, you should start your consultation process as soon as possible. The below information might be helpful when consulting with pupils and staff. In next week’s blog post, we’ll take a look at the tools needed to consult with parents. We worked with education experts Malcolm Groves and Bill Bolloten to develop this toolkit.

How to consult with staff

Staff are well-placed to help you judge whether your current RSE curriculum is fit for purpose. 

To consult with staff, you can either:

  • Use a survey
  • Hold a focus group with staff who deliver RSE (this is the best option if you have a small number of staff who deliver RSE across your school)
  • Have a discussion during a staff meeting (this will be best if lots of staff are involved in delivering RSE)

Use the handouts above to make sure staff understand the new RSE expectations.

Key questions you should ask staff

  • Have you ever needed to refer to the school's RSE policy?
  • Are there any issues that affect our pupils that you think could be addressed in RSE?
  • Is there anything we're covering too much/not enough?
  • How would you rate the quality of the resources that we use for RSE? Are they fit for purpose?
  • If you teach RSE, how confident do you feel delivering curriculum content? Are there any aspects/topics where more training or support is necessary?

These questions are based on suggested questions for staff in the Sex Education Forum's sex and relationships education consultation activities pack.

The pack was developed in relation to old RSE guidance, but it's still useful. 

How to consult with pupils 

How you consult with pupils will depend on their age and maturity levels. Unlike with parents or staff, consulting with pupils is likely to be a long-term activity. 

That's because apart from the oldest, most mature pupils, asking pupils open-ended questions about what they'd like to learn about in RSE, or what they'd like to know about a particular topic, is not likely to be the best approach.

A discrete focus group or consultation activity isn't likely to give you the most meaningful insight.

Instead, senior leaders and classroom-based staff will need to engage with pupils about the RSE-linked issues they face in context.

Here's how you can do that:

Use your school council (or equivalent)

Consider the feedback you get from your school council about everyday school life, or the issues they bring to your attention. 

These may have implications for what your RSE curriculum should cover. 

When working with your school council on anything, look at where there are links to the RSE expectations, and ask questions that may help you identify gaps in your curriculum offer. 

For instance, if you're working with your school council on behaviour issues during break times, you could ask questions about how confident they and their peers feel managing conflicts within friendships. If their answers suggest this isn't something many children feel confident with, this can feed in to your RSE curriculum planning. 

Monitor engagement with and understanding of your current RSE curriculum

Take note of the kinds of questions pupils ask and which topics they engage with throughout the year - you'll probably learn a lot without even having to ask a question!

Pop in to lessons about particular topics and talk to pupils. Ask them what they're learning about and gauge how much of it they understand. This can help you identify what your curriculum should cover and when it should be taught. 

Incorporate consultation activities into RSE lessons

The Sex Education Forum's consultation activities pack, linked to above, has examples of activities for pupils of different ages. 

For example:

  • Ask younger pupils to draw or write what they understand about a certain RSE topic
  • Ask pupils to prioritise RSE topics that are most important to them

Have your own suggestions to share about SRE consultation? Contact us on:

Interested in finding out more about ScholarPack? Book a demo here to find out more.

Topics: relationship and sex education, consultation