Leeds City Council: plan for both RSE and health education

With the introduction of statutory relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) on the horizon, the council decided to organise a series of one-day events. This case study is an example of the many pro-active and positive approaches which local authorities are taking to support inclusive RSE.


Key points

  • Briefing day held in early summer to prepare schools for statutory RSE.
  • Three conferences due to be run to provide more detail, covering topics such as LGBT issues and female genital mutilation.
  • These will be supplemented by training courses.

Leeds is home to nearly 300 schools. Reaching and supporting them all can be a challenge.

The council’s health and wellbeing service has a tried-and-tested method of running one-day conferences to engage schools having held them in previous years on topics such as social, emotional and mental health, and physical education.

What has been done?

With the introduction of statutory RSE on the horizon, the council decided to organise a series of one-day events. There are three planned in the lead up to the September 2020 deadline.

They are:

  • preparing for statutory Relationships Education and RSE
  • preparing for Statutory Health Education
  • real life issues.

They are aimed at Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education leads with the council hoping around 100 will attend each event.

There will be keynote speakers, workshop sessions, some of which are tailored at different types of schools, and a question-and-answer ‘carousel’ at the end where delegates will get the opportunity to quiz experts.

The conferences come after an introduction briefing held in July just after the DfE issued its final guidance on statutory RSE.

Why?

The service lead for the programme said: “When we held the briefing in July our main focus was to provide an update to schools and at the same time some reassurance too.

“We invited Ofsted and the PSHE Association to discuss the guidance and a local deputy head teacher at one of our schools went through how they were providing RSE.

“We did not want schools to think they had to develop a new curriculum, as many schools are already delivering good PSHE. We have provided a lot of support over the years and many schools are in a really good position to embrace the RE and RSE curriculum.

“We are focusing the three days on what schools may need additional support with, and we are working with the DfE and Stonewall on the first one. We have a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) session during this winter – that is an area that schools do want support on.”

“We are focusing the three days on what schools may need additional support with, and we are working with the DfE and Stonewall on the first one. We have an LGBT session during this winter – that is an area that schools do want support on.”

“There are elements, within the health education curriculum, such as first aid, gambling and self-care, which may be new to some schools.”

The final session, real life issues, will be for exploring topics such as criminal sexual exploitation, grooming and female genital mutilation.

“These are the sort of areas that schools may feel they have to buy-in some expertise. We hope to give them the confidence to deliver it themselves.”

What else is happening?

The three conferences are being supplemented by the normal range of support and resources the service provides to those who buy-in to the annual service level agreement which offers support as well as access to training.

This includes dedicated training sessions on everything from drug education to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) inclusivity. There are also template RSE curriculums and policies schools can adopt.

The service lead said: “One of the things we are keen for schools to do is engage with parents and carers as we get nearer to September 2020.

We think it is important to bring parents in and explain what is happening as part of a wider look at the whole curriculum and not just RE and RSE.”