In less than a month, schools will be required to begin rolling out government mandated relationships and sex education classes. Click here to read the Government’s post about implementation. Three years ago, we were one of the many organisations welcoming this switch to compulsory RSE. Now, three years later, we are excited to see how schools adapt to these changes.
In our work with children and young people, we regularly hear from both parents and young people about a lack of appropriate or sufficient RSE. Without the tools to understand the meaning of healthy consensual relationships, children and young people are left navigating this complex terrain without guidance. Recent statistics found that 25% of female 13-17 year-olds reported having experienced some physical abuse from an intimate partner (SafeLives, 2016). Often these young women don’t have the tools, knowledge or resources to seek support.
RSE is a vital and necessary part of prevention work. These changes to the RSE landscape will give schools control over their curriculum, although there is encouragement that wellbeing, equality, online behaviours, and consent are front and centre. Holistic and inclusive RSE has the potential to create real change. RSE helps young people grow up with a framework for future relationships and friendships, providing building blocks for healthy respectful interactions – both online and offline.
To support schools on their journey we have created Ask AVA, a hub of resources and tools. We’ve worked with schools and pupil referral units to ensure the content is best suited to educating children in such a way as to prevent violence against women and girls and encourage healthy and consentual workshops. For teachers and school staff looking for where to start in designing or implementing a new RSE curriculum, check out the Ask AVA toolkit and resources or add your suggestions via our suggestions box.