Understanding what is age-appropriate

Relationship and sex education became statutory with effect from September 2020 alongside guidance for schools which provided details of what children and young people should know by the time they leave primary and secondary education. The guidance however does not give further direction on what to teach and when. This decision is given to the individual schools to allow flexibility and for schools to be able to develop programmes which are responsive to their local community needs.

Where do children and young people learn about relationships, sex and health education topics?

Keeping safe, Healthy friendships, Families, Stereotypes, Body changes, Healthy body image, Saying no.

Media is one of several influences on teenage behaviour and attitudes. Other influences include family, friends and peers, cultural background and more.

Media messages can have a negative or unhealthy influence on teenage behaviour and attitudes in certain areas, including body image, health and relationships. RSE can equip young people with the skills they require to understand media impact and help them navigate pressures more effectively.

Watch the presentation to find out more.

Your Task

Using this timeline activity suggest what age and key stage would be the age-appropriate time to explore this topic.

Print the age category cards and RSE topic cards. Display the age category on a table. Take a topic card and read this, consider where you feel this topic should be placed.

Remember to think about and consider how children grow and develop their relationships, communities, freedoms, rights and responsibilities.

Age Category Cards

EYFS Nursery and Reception (3-5 years old)

KS1 Years 1-2 (ages 5-7)

KS2 Years 3-6 (ages 7-11)

KS3 Years 7-9 (ages 11-14)

KS4 Years 10-11 (ages 14-16)

KS5 Years 12-13 More commonly referred to as College or Sixth Form (ages 16-18)

Topic Cards

  • Sexting
  • FGM
  • Periods
  • Puberty
  • Different types of Relationships
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Consent
  • Gender Stereotypes
  • Safe Sex
  • Contraception
  • Reproduction
  • Pregnancy choices
  • Keeping Safe Online
  • Pornography

Surveys of children and young people, as well as Ofsted, have repeatedly told us that current RSE tends to be ‘too little, too late and too biological. See the report Everyone’s Right to Know