As you will no doubt be aware, transition to secondary school is a massive step for Year 6 children and although this is an exciting rite of passage for them, it can also be very daunting, particularly during these very uncertain times.
Life as we know it has changed significantly and the way in which children engage and interact with each other has been massively affected. Children’s relationships are now moving ‘online’ more so than ever before and health and wellbeing will have been challenged considerably.
An important part of the Year 6 curriculum is PSHE where the children are taught key aspects of personal, social and health education. This includes RSE which enables the children to recognise changes in their bodies and manage relationships effectively. More than ever before, children are exposed to representations of sex and sexuality through the media/ social media and the social culture around them, so we need to present a balanced view of RSE and help them to be discerning and stay safe. If the children were at school, they would be discussing boys and girl’s puberty and issues arising from it. The Year 7 teachers will be aware that RSE has been different for them with COVID-19 but it is important for parents to also have discussions, even if the conversation may be uncomfortable. The children will still be starting secondary school and will be chatting about and hearing things online so they need to be armed with correct knowledge and information.
There are four main aims for teaching RSE within the context of Primary School PSHE
• To enable young people to understand and respect their bodies, and be able to cope with the changes puberty brings, without fear or confusion
• To help young people develop positive and healthy relationships appropriate to their age, development etc. (respect for self and others)
• To support young people to have positive self-esteem and body image, and to understand the influences and pressures around them
• To empower them to be safe and safeguarded.
By the end of Year 6, children should have learned to:
• Describe some emotions associated with the onset of puberty and have strategies to deal with these positively.
• Understand that puberty affects people in different ways both physically and emotionally.
• Understand that the way they behave affects others and that they have some responsibility to others to make sure they are not hurt needlessly.
• Describe some characteristics of a loving trusting relationship.
• Understand some basic reasons why a couple might choose to have children.
• Show awareness of some family arrangements which are different to theirs.
It is really important for the children to continue with some aspects of this learning at home, when and how parents deem appropriate, as you are ultimately the ones that know your children best and what they need to know and are ready for.
What you could do at home:
· Talk to your child regularly about how they are feeling. They may wish to keep a diary or write their thoughts down rather than speaking to someone directly.
· Encourage discussions about the possible inaccuracy in some media reporting and social media posts.
· Discuss online safety and encourage the children to talk about anything that may have happened that they are uncomfortable with. Websites such as https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ have some really useful resources.
· Discuss any physical or emotional changes honestly and encourage questions that they may have.
· Encourage children to maintain ‘face to face’ relationships where possible and whilst maintaining social distancing, so that not all of their relationships are happening from a keyboard or behind a screen.
If you have any major concerns about your child’s health and wellbeing during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact their teacher, a member of SLT or the pastoral team for advice and support.
Assistant Head Teacher