Guiding principles for RSE Day

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RSE Day promises to buzz and hum with activity, bringing schools, families and communities together around the joint project of celebrating excellent Relationships and Sex Education.

The day will fly by at speed. It will be exciting to see the new resources that have been produced, selfies and book choices that are shared and to hear about the RSE activities taking place nationwide.

Before the wave of activity sweeps us along, let’s take a moment to reflect and remember that RSE is first and foremost about meeting the needs of children and young people. RSE Day itself is guided by a set of principles and top of the list is the fact that RSE helps keep children safe – this is based on evidence. 

With evidence at the core of what we do at the Sex Education Forum, we are proud to release an infographic summarising the impact of RSE on young people’s health and wellbeing, young people’s preference to learn about sex from school, parents and health professionals and a reminder of the overwhelming consensus of support for RSE.

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Research evidence shows that RSE is more effective when home and school are involved, and RSE Day is all about encouraging everyone to have a role. Communication between people is the key. Perhaps you will be opening up new questions and conversations on RSE Day, asking children and young people how RSE can be improved or asking families to choose love themed books to read together. Involving people with different roles, and of different ages, and supporting life-long learning is something that RSE Day activities can help set in motion.

Sometimes people will disagree about the choice of a resource to use in RSE, or how and if to answer a child’s question. People’s choices of favourite books about love will be wide-ranging too. The task for RSE is clear though; to educate children and young people about healthy relationships and positive sexual health, and in doing so to meet the child’s need to feel safe, to feel included and be respected. Adult differences must be put aside to make sure this is our common priority.

Excellent RSE should also be enjoyable and useful. Through the stresses and strains of the Covid-19 pandemic the relevance of RSE is striking. Friendships, family dynamics, intimate relationships and social interactions have entered new territory. RSE Day 2020 is an opportunity to learn from each other at a very particular moment. In 10 weeks time, Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education will become statutory in schools across England, making 2020 a landmark year for RSE. Today we can keep it simple: have a conversation, share a book, ask a question and enjoy RSE Day!

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Lucy Emmerson
Director, Sex Education Forum 
25 June 2020

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