Best Practice

Ensuring developmentally appropriate RSHE

As a government panel considers ‘age-ratings’ for topics within RSHE, Lucy Emmerson discusses what age-appropriate sex education might look like, using the topic of puberty as an example
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The age at which relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) topics should be taught has become a focal point in the government review of RSHE, with a group of advisors appointed with a brief to recommend “age ratings” for the subject (DfE, 2023).

So, what does age-appropriate really mean and how can schools determine what to cover when, if the objective is to create a relevant, developmentally appropriate curriculum that meets learners’ needs?

Statutory guidance (DfE, 2019) divides RSHE content into two age bands; a set of statements that pupils “should know by the end of primary” and a set to know “by the end of secondary”. The guidance advises that all content should be developmentally appropriate and sequenced, and leaves schools with the flexibility to plan this out themselves.

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