Relationships Education

As a Catholic school, our teaching in Relationships Education will result from reflection on the Gospels and the teachings of the church and take account of the physical, moral and emotional development of pupils. There are two important concepts that underpin our thinking on this subject:

  • The dignity and worth of each person made in the image and likeness of God.
  • The importance of individuals coming together in mutual support and regard, to live and work for the good of humankind and the glory of God.

Relationships Education demonstrates the Catholic attitude and beliefs about human person. We recognise that:

  • It is a lifelong process, not just learning about the biological understanding of others, and ourselves but about relationships, feeling and behaviour.
  • Relationships Education helps children to understand and value themselves and others, to take responsibility for their actions and make informed choices.

In Relationships Education, our aims are

  • To have an awareness of where pupils are in their knowledge and understanding, so that their concerns can be identified.
  • To engender growth in self-respect and self worth, recognising that each of us is created in the image of God.
  • To explore the meaning and value of life and give some appreciation of the values of family life.

A Catholic school is committed to the education of the whole person so teaching on relationships needs to be reflected in each relevant part of the curriculum. Therefore, Relationships Education will be taught as appropriate through Religious Education lessons, PHSE lessons and through the wider curriculum. Teaching will speak with consistency about the meaning of human love and the virtues that are enshrined in the Church’s teaching on human love.

As a Catholic School, we follow a model curriculum for Relationships Education devised by the Diocese of Westminster. This covers the statutory requirements for the teaching of Relationships Education within the Primary School but is rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching about what it is to be truly human in Christ, what it means to live well in relationship with others and is presented within a positive framework of Christian virtues.

The Catholic curriculum for Relationships Education is based on three core themes:

Created and loved by God (this explores the individual)

In a Catholic school, pupils are growing to be:

  • Respectful of their own bodies, character and giftedness
  • Appreciative for blessings
  • Grateful to others and to God
  • Self-disciplined and able to delay or forego gratification for the sake of greater goods
  • Discerning in their decision making
  • Determined and resilient in the face of difficulty
  • Courageous in the face of new situations and in facing their fears

Pupils are taught:

  • We are special people made in the image and likeness of God
  • We are children of God with an innate dignity
  • God has created us for a purpose (vocation)
  • Life is precious and their body is God’s gift to them
  • Prayer and worship are ways of nourishing their relationship with God
  • Sacraments often coincide with different natural stages in life, for example Baptism often occurs near birth for Catholics

Created to love others (this explores an individual’s relationships with others)

In a Catholic school, pupils are growing to be:

  • Loyal, able to develop and sustain friendships
  • Compassionate, able to empathise with the suffering of others and the generosity to help others in trouble
  • Respectful, able to identify other people’s personal space and respect the ways in which they are different
  • Forgiving, developing the skills to allow reconciliation in relationships
  • Courteous in their dealings with friends and strangers
  • Honest, committed to living truthfully and with integrity

Pupils are taught:

  • Christians belong to the Church family which includes the school, parish and diocese
  • Families are the building blocks of society and where faith, wisdom and virtues are passed onto the next generation
  • The importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships and Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness
  • The sacrament of marriage involves commitment and self- giving. It is a formal, lifelong commitment

Created to live in community – local, national & global (this explores the individual’s relationships with the wider world)

In a Catholic school, pupils are growing to be:

  • Just, understanding the impact of their actions locally, nationally and globally
  • Self-giving, able to put aside their own wants in order to serve others locally, nationally and globally
  • Prophetic in their ability to identify injustice and speak out against it locally, nationally and globally

Pupils are taught:

  • God is Trinity – a communion of persons
  • The key principles of Catholic Social Teaching
  • The Church is the Body of Christ

The Statutory Guidance for teaching of Relationships Education covers the following topics:

Families and people who care for me

Pupils should know:

  • that families are important for children growing up because they can give love, security and stability.
  • the characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for children and other family members, the importance of spending time together and sharing each other’s lives.
  • that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.
  • that stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types, are at the heart of happy families, and are important for children’s security as they grow up.
  • that marriage  represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.
  • how to recognise if family relationships are making them feel unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed.

Caring friendships

Pupils should know:

  • how important friendships are in making us feel happy and secure, and how people choose and make friends.
  • the characteristics of friendships, including mutual respect, truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, trust, sharing interests and experiences and support with problems and difficulties.
  • that healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded.
  • that most friendships have ups and downs, and that these can often be worked through so that the friendship is repaired or even strengthened, and that resorting to violence is never right.
  • how to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable, managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to seek help or advice from others, if needed.

Respectful relationships

Pupils should know:

  • the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs.
  • practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships.
  • the conventions of courtesy and manners.
  • the importance of self-respect and how this links to their own happiness.
  • that in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including those in positions of authority.
  • about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help.
  • what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive.
  • the importance of permission-seeking and giving in relationships with friends, peers and adults.

Online relationships

Pupils should know:

  • that people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not.
  • that the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-toface relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous.
  • the rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them.
  • how to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met.
  • how information and data is shared and used online.

Being safe

Pupils should know:

  • what sorts of boundaries are appropriate in friendships with peers and others (including in a digital context).
  • about the concept of privacy and the implications of it for both children and adults; including that it is not always right to keep secrets if they relate to being safe.
  • that each person’s body belongs to them, and the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact.
  • how to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not know.
  • how to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe or feeling bad about any adult.
  • how to ask for advice or help for themselves or others, and to keep trying until they are heard.
  • how to report concerns or abuse, and the vocabulary and confidence needed to do so.
  • where to get advice e.g. family, school and/or other sources.