In the 2020-21 academic year, the new relationships and sex education (RSE) curriculum was made compulsory in schools in England. The curriculum includes sections on healthy relationships covering issues such as consent, abusive behaviours and sexual violence.
Whilst this is a welcome development of the school curriculum, domestic abuse organisations including SafeLives were concerned on initial review that the curriculum plans and training materials given to schools were not fit for purpose.
These concerns ranged from the fact that the curriculum does not take a trauma-informed approach to the delivery of the RSE curriculum (particularly in relation to domestic abuse and sexual violence), to a lack of practical examples in the training materials. There was also a worry that the training for teachers was insufficient to equip teachers with the in-depth knowledge and understanding they require to approach this aspect of the curriculum effectively and sensitively. Furthermore, there was little or no support for the teacher's own wellbeing in delivering content which is potentially triggering.
Over a period of 12 months, Safelives is exploring how the
healthy relationships component of the RSE curriculum is experienced in a sample of secondary education settings in England, how it is rolled out and how it could be developed/improved to help young people's learning.
Findings will be drawn together into a discovery report for influencing key stakeholders and informing SafeLive's own youth strategy: Safe Young Lives.
Treebeard is providing restricted funding for one year to support this curriculum review.