London Borough of Camden: a multi-agency RSE working group

A relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) working group was established in late 2017. It has been meeting termly, providing a forum for information sharing, discussion and advice on the support to schools to get ready for the changes. 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

  • A working group set up involving teachers, parent reps, school nurses and council officers.
  • The group has brought together expertise to help prepare for statutory RSE as well as helping share information.
  • A head teacher’s reference group has now been established to build on what has been done so far and act as a ‘critical friend’.

Camden Council has a strong track record of collaborative working with schools.

In the past it has created working groups to look at specific issues – and this was an approach that Camden felt would help in the lead up to statutory RSE.

What has been done?

An RSE working group was established in late 2017. It has been meeting termly, providing a forum for information sharing, discussion and advice on the support to schools to get ready for the changes.

There are around 20 members. They include PSHE leads and governors from primary, secondary and special schools as well as parent representatives, the school nursing service, sexual health staff and voluntary sector representatives.

The group is coordinated by Camden Learning, a local partnership set up as a joint enterprise between schools and the council to share expertise, drive improvement and develop excellent practice.

It is chaired by an adviser from Camden Learning and also includes other council officers, including the lead on Prevent and the primary PSHE adviser. 

Why?

The RSE working group has enabled Camden to bring together and take account of the views and expertise of schools, voluntary organisations and parent representatives in the move towards statutory RSE.

It has also ensured there is comprehensive and useful support to schools, as well as acting as a forum for informing and raising awareness of the changes to a wide range of professionals involved with schools.

One adviser from Camden Learning said: “It has kept them up-to-date about what has been going on.”

What else is happening?

Camden Learning has also produced a variety of resources to support schools, including a briefing that summarises the government guidance, an FAQs document and a one-page briefing on the four key actions for schools to get ready for September 2020.

Head teachers, governors, PSHE coordinators and others with a key role in leading the implementation of the changes in their schools have been invited to briefings that started in June and continue through September and October.

Meanwhile, a new head teacher’s RSE reference group has been formed.

An adviser from Camden Learning said the aim of this group is “to act as a critical friend, helping us to get our support right with schools”.

“In the lead up to the introduction of statutory RSE in all schools, both the working group and head teacher’s reference group will play vital roles.”