Best Practice

Relationships and sex education: Ensuring inclusion for pupils with SEND

PSHE Inclusion
As part of statutory relationships and sex education, schools will need to ensure that the needs of children with SEND are met. Lucy Emmerson advises

High quality relationships and sex education (RSE) is every child’s right, no matter what their level of need or ability.
Both mainstream and special schools must comply with government guidance on the subject, and new legislation making RSE mandatory applies to every type of school in England.

While the new guidelines on RSE, relationships education (in primary schools) and health education are yet to be finalised, some key principles relating to disabled children and those with SEN are clearly established in the proposals: we can see where swift action is needed by schools to be ready for September 2020.

The Equalities Act provides the guiding principle that disabled pupils must be able to participate in the curriculum, so RSE must be accessible. The guidance acknowledges the need for flexibility, to tailor content and teaching to meet the specific needs of children at different developmental stages, and also advises schools to be aware that some pupils are more vulnerable to exploitation, bullying and other issues due to the nature of their SEND.

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