At St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School, any teaching or formation on human love and human development must be within the whole context of our faith in God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ, as it is through our love of God and of neighbour that we reciprocate God’s love for mankind. As the term ‘Relationship and Sex Education’ (RSE) indicates, the emphasis is placed on the understanding and formation of respectful, loving relationships which exist between friends and within families. High-quality, evidence-based and age-appropriate teaching of these subjects can help prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
The focus in primary school should be on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them. From the beginning of primary school, building on early education, pupils should be taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy. Establishing personal space and boundaries, showing respect and understanding the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact – these are the forerunners of teaching about consent.
The DfE guidance states that “children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way”. It is about the development of the pupil’s knowledge and understanding of her or him as a sexual being, about what it means to be fully human, called to live in right relationships with self and others and being enabled to make moral decisions in conscience.
Our programme enshrines Catholic values relating to the importance of stable relationships, marriage and family life. It also promotes those virtues which are essential in responding to the God’s call to love others with a proper respect for their dignity and the dignity of the human body.
At St Dominic Savio, we use ‘Life to the Full’ as recommended for Catholic schools. We aim to give pupils equal access to the PSHE curriculum, which may include the use of single gender group discussions where appropriate. We can invite the school nurse to talk to the children if required.
For each of us, life is like a journey.
Birth is the beginning of this journey,
And death is not the end; but the destination.
It is a journey that takes us
from youth to age,
from innocence to awareness,
from ignorance to knowledge, from foolishness to wisdom,
from weakness to strength and often back again,
from offence to forgiveness, from pain to compassion,
from fear to faith,
from defeat to victory and from victory to defeat,
Until, looking backward or ahead,
we see that victory does not lie at some high point along the way,
but in having made the journey, stage by stage.
(Adapted from an old Hebrew Prayer)