South Axeholme AcademyWorking together with BigTalk Education South Axeholme Academy ran a series of 'RSE Lessons for Life' sessions for Year 10 students. This case study details the young people's feedback and confidence in each topic area.
Confidence in CSE topic area Before lesson : 70%
After Lesson : 100%
An Introduction to the Programme
In 2016 Barnardo’s conducted a survey of over 1,000 young people aged between 11-15 years old, of these 74% said that all children would be safer if they had sex and relationship education suitable for their age. However, the quality of RSE provision across the UK is a lottery, in fact findings from another 2016 survey carried out with 2,000 young people by the Sex Education Forum found that:
- Half of the young people did not learn how to get help if they had been abused.
- 53% did not recognise the signs of grooming for sexual exploitation.
- More than 4 in 10 had not learnt about healthy or abusive relationships.
- 34% had not learnt about sexual consent.
At BigTalk Education we are committed to ensuring as many children and young people as possible receive high quality age appropriate relationship and sex education. Our programme for secondary schools RSE Lessons for Life, provides a broad range of lessons, which can be used as a whole scheme of study across the school, or as standalone lessons to enhance a school’s own taught programme. A report by Barnardo’s in 2018†, that conducted a broad literature review of past research that explored what young people think RSE should be like, concluded that young people often feel more comfortable being taught RSE by someone from outside of their school, like BigTalk Education’s specialist facilitators, as they find it is less embarrassing, they feel that specialists provide greater confidentiality and can result in a higher quality of delivery.
Our team focus on delivering factual information with no political or religious bias. However, our lessons and our team have an established set of values that we adhere to. These are respect, honesty, sensitivity, tolerance, trust, equality, empathy, support and empowerment.
On the day of delivery, six separate hour long workshops were delivered by our teams of facilitators, each form group moved around the sessions, so by the end of the day each class had recived all six lessons. This built on lessons that had been delivered by BigTalk Education in previous year groups. However as Year 10 is such a crucial year for RSE South Axeholme opted to run a full enrichment day to deliver reinforcement ‘Essential’ sessions and introduce new ‘Emerging’ topics. To view a full breakdown of the sessions on offer in the RSE: Lessons for Life programme please take a look at our Secondary School Relationship and Sex Education programme. Alternatively some schools choose to timetable regular lessons over the course of a few weeks.
The information below includes the outline of the lesson content, pupil feedback on each session, each lesson was different with bespoke activities, resources and discussion topics delivered in a class room setting by our specialist facilitators.
Mates, Dates, Loves, Hates
This lesson is designed to aid young people identify abusive relationships and establish boundaries. Covering a wide range of abuse from verbal, emotional, financial, sexual and physical as well as isolation. By highlighting the warning signs of these we explore how young people could help their friends through these situations and where to get help, if they have concerns. To ensure the reinforcement of healthy relationships the team work with the group to discuss the positive qualities of their perfect partners.
“It has made me a lot more aware of things that could happen in future relationships. It was a done in a good was and explained really well.”
“Throughout the PowerPoint and discussions were very informative. The auction element was good fun to finish the lesson.”
“It was very interesting to see other peoples views on what they want in a relationship. The auction was fun.”
Student confidence Relationship Boundaries topic area Before lesson : 66%
After Lesson : 91%
Relationships: Ups, Downs and Endings
Whether it is family, friend or a partner, all relationships have their ups and downs. This lesson establishes the characteristics of positive loving relationships, whether this be family, friendships or romantic. However even healthy relationships can have turbulence, so we work with the group on strategies for conflict resolution. At some point within their lives it is likely that everyone will experience a break up or bereavement, so we explore the seven stages of relationship break down and how this shares similarities to how we experience grief for the loss of a loved one. Exploring the impact of relationship changes on emotional well-being, builds knowledge of what to expect and introduces coping strategies that can make a material difference to young people as they move through their lives. This lesson is framed within a contemporary context of social media and access to technology, that can be used for online bullying, we highlight the possible repercussions of this as an outlet for frustration or anger.
“I think this lesson was very educational and beneficial for when we get older and serious a serious relationship breakdown.”
“This lesson has given me good ideas on how to solve problems in the best way, for myself and others. Very useful lesson..”
“This was very useful for the future when I will probably experience this, thank you.”
Student confidence in Conflict topic area Before lesson : 66%
After Lesson : 91%
For both males and females outside influences can negatively impact body image, which can have repercussions on both mental and physical health as young people develop and into adulthood. By exploring how people think about their bodies, relative to media representations and social stereotypes (such as weight and gender) we relate this to self-esteem and body confidence. This lesson can be adapted for year groups from 7 right through to year 11.
“I learnt a lot and it was very well structured. A lot of good class discussion, that got us all thinking and talking. “
“Really opened us up to the way we are influenced to look good from our genitals to our facial hair. It also demonstrated how we are influenced by social media, media, TV, pornography and how size doesn’t matter because we are all different.”
“Well delivered by a nice woman who was polite and respectful of our opinions.”
Student confidence in Body Image topic area Before lesson : 72%
After Lesson : 91%
This lesson addresses grooming in an offline setting and how this can escalate from assumed friendship to sexual exploitation. Our resources for this lesson draw comparisons of healthy and unhealthy relationships to distinguish exploitation from relationships with trust and respect. As CSE is often reported to friends first, we discuss with the pupils what they should do if a peer makes a disclosure of abuse or exploitation to them.
“I was aware that Sexual Exploitation is more common than people think, even though it was a bit uncomfortable to learn about. It was a good thing to learn about and be made aware of.”
“The lesson was very informative and highlighted extremely serious issues. It helped me to understand how common sexual exploitation is.”
Student confidence in Grooming/CSE topic area Before lesson : 70%
After Lesson : 100%
Pathways to Parenthood?
This lesson focuses on the routes to parenthood that today’s young people may encounter. As the average age of parents rises, so does the number of young people that may require fertility treatment later in life. This lesson also includes the path to parenthood for LGBTQ+ people, which has historically not been covered in RSE lessons. It is also within this topic that we touch on termination, statistics show that one in three women will have a termination before the age of 45, so sharing information on this subject may be of relevance to a significant number of students in the future.
“There was a lot I didn’t realise before, I didn’t know that about 1 in 3 women have an abortion. Very interesting.”
“Useful things to know for when we are older. E.g. I didn’t realise that women’s fertility is massively impacted when they reach 35.”
Student confidence in Parenthood topic area Before lesson : 64%
After Lesson : 89%