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Sexual harassment in schools

We take all matters of harassment seriously. We deal with the particular issue of sexual harassment within PSHE lessons where we seek to ensure that our programme of lessons is a carefully sequenced, spiral curriculum that revisits the relevant topic areas, each time extending and deepening learning in an age and developmentally-appropriate way.

The statutory RSHE guidance identifies a wide range of relevant content in the secondary phase related to treating others respectfully, recognising unhealthy relationships and seeking support. This includes teaching about harassment and abuse in both KS3 and KS4.

We have mapped our scheme of work to the statutory guidance to teach topics in each year group as follows:

Year 7

• How to develop self-worth and self-efficacy
• About qualities and behaviours relating to different types of positive relationships
• How to recognise and challenge media stereotypes
• How to evaluate expectations for romantic relationships
• About consent, and how to seek and assertively communicate consent
• About identity, rights and responsibilities
• How to support others

Year 8

• Understand the importance of friendship and to begin to consider love and sexual relationships in this context
• Know that they have rights over their bodies
• Begin to consider different levels of intimacy and their consequences
• Acknowledge the right not to have intimate relationships until ready. The qualities of positive, healthy relationships
• How to demonstrate positive behaviours in healthy relationships
• About gender identity and sexual orientation
• About forming new partnerships and developing relationships
• About the law in relation to consent
• That the legal and moral duty is with the seeker of consent
• How to effectively communicate about consent in relationships
• About the risks of 'sexting' and how to manage requests or pressure to send an image

Year 9

• How to access support services. About readiness for sexual activity, the choice to delay sex, or enjoy intimacy without sex
• About myths and misconceptions relating to consent
• About the continuous right to with draw consent and capacity to consent
• About STIs, effective use of condoms and negotiating safer sex
• About the consequences of unprotected sex, including pregnancy
• How the portrayal of relationships in the media and pornography might affect expectation
• How to assess and manage risks of sending, sharing or passing on sexual images

Year 10

• About relationship values and the role of pleasure in relationships
• About myths, assumptions, misconceptions and social norms about sex, gender and relationships
• About the opportunities and risks of forming and conducting relationships online
• How to manage the impact of the media and pornography on sexual attitudes, expectations and behaviours
• About the ethical and legal implications in relation to consent including manipulation, coercion and capacity to consent
• How to recognise and respond to pressure, coercion and exploitation, including reporting and accessing appropriate support
• How to recognise and challenge victim blaming

Year 11

• About different types of families and changing family structures
• How to evaluate readiness for parenthood and positive parenting qualities
• About 'honour-based' violence and forced marriage and how to safely access support

Expert provider STARS (Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service) already works with sixth form students on the theme of consent and they also run workshops with year 10 students about sexual harassment and bystander intervention.

Year 7 and year 9 have also benefitted from resources provided by the Bournemouth based charity, Respected ( https://www.respected.org.uk ) the aim of these resources is to empower young people to make healthy informed choices in the area of relationships and sex.

In year 7 they explore the qualities of a good friend as a foundation for good decision making and, later on, good romantic relationships. A discussion of peer pressure is then followed by an introduction to the issues of sexting and internet safety/grooming.

In year 9 the lessons explore the reasons why teenagers decide to start having sex and looks at the possible consequences of making that choice, including unplanned pregnancy and STI's and discusses some of the emotional aspects of that choice. The lessons help to educate students on how to keep themselves safe from the risks of teen sex including information on contraception, condom use, STI testing and examines the benefits of delaying sex until a long term committed relationship.

We have also shared with students the phone number of a new help line provided by the NSPCC and commissioned by the Department for Education to provide support to pupils who have experienced abuse at school and parents and teachers who are concerned about sexual abuse in education settings.

Young people and adults can contact Report Abuse in Education on 0800 136 663 or email help@nspcc.org.uk