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  • Jeremy Sachs

5 tips from students: how to lead successful Relationships, Sex and Health Education in schools

Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) has been compulsory for KS3 & KS4 (ages 11 - 15) since September 2020 and Relationships and Health Education has been compulsory at KS1 and 2. However, this has been an incredibly challenging year for schools, and the government has given a little leeway with timings as a result, meaning that some schools are only getting to grips with the full requirements now.

To help schools prepare for this change, the PSHE Association has created a ‘3 steps to RSHE success’ guide and a new RSHE Ready podcast series. The podcast features me, as well as leading voices from across the UK education sector discussing the new statutory RSHE requirements and what teachers and schools can do to ensure they're 'RSHE ready'.

I and the Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH) created one of the RSHE Ready episodes about what young people thought of these changes. I asked two members of AYPH’s Youth Advisory Panel, Thara (13) and George (16), to join me via a Zoom call, and together, the three of us created the episode.

Here are 5 tips George and Thara shared with me in the episode:

1. Have confidence.

Teachers need to teach confidently, allowing for discussions and questions. A lack of confidence can lead to young people feeling awkward and not engaging, even if it is a topic they are interested in.

2. Don’t be afraid of difficult conversations.

Use RSHE as an opportunity to have difficult conversations. This can include; stigmatised issues, consent and signs of toxic relationships. While young people discuss these issues within their peer groups they also recognise the value of having teachers support these conversations.

3. Consider different genders.

All genders will come with specific experiences around RSHE. Allowing space to examine these different experiences is valuable and gives young people an opportunity to understand the topic from different points of view. Splitting the class into same-gender groups may also be useful for particularly sensitive topics.

4. Communicate clearly.

Avoid jargon, slang or unclear terminology around sex, relationships and health. Young people value the topics covered by RSHE and want all information communicated in a clear and accessible way. Jargon, slang or unclear terminology leave space for misunderstandings and young people may not feel comfortable asking for clarification on sensitive topics.

5. Peer to peer learning.

Young people want to learn from each other as well as teachers. While teachers are good for giving trustworthy information, young people take in information well when they can explore, discuss and share ideas among their peers.


The podcast covers much more, so to find out George's tips on staying calm in front of a class of 30 students or what Thara’s favourite PSHE lesson was, and to understand why RSHE is important to young people in their own words, make sure to listen in:


Association for Young People's Health |

PSHE Association |

Jeremy Sachs Psychotherapy |

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