RSE Day blog 2024

RSE Day blog 2024

Every year in the UK the last Thursday in June is Relationships and Sex Education (RSE Day). A day where we celebrate RSE and the positive impact it can have in people’s lives. This year the theme for RSE Day is ‘Embracing Change’. The theme is set months in advance but it seems like a great theme to reflect the current mood within RSE. 

In England, the RSE guidance for schools has been in place for 5 years and is currently in a process of being reviewed and updated. This could bring some significant changes to RSE. Equally important, we may see a change in the political landscape within the UK and that might also impact schools in general and RSE in particular. 

The truth is, that RSE has always been about embracing change. Its foundation is based on helping young people navigate the changes from childhood to adulthood. RSE has always had to change with the times. In the past, we focused on the impact of magazine covers, and then, we changed, to talk about social media images. When I first trained in RSE, genital warts was a common STI for young people to encounter, yet in the UK, thanks to the large-scale successful HPV vaccine programme, genital warts is now a very rare STI for teenagers. Our work changes to meet the ever-changing needs of young people. 

Our work is positive and we celebrate the changes during puberty; we want young people to embrace the changes adolescence can bring. We know for some young people these changes are scary, or difficult, for all kinds of reasons. We work to help them explore these feelings and build a healthy response. We hope students we work with can learn to embrace change and be the authors of their own stories whilst shaping their futures. 

Equally, we want to be positive and celebrate how RSE changes. We want to embrace the changes that are coming. New topics such as pelvic health conditions are coming into the Esteem programme, as well as new ways of working with a wider age range of learners. These changes are good and we are committed to embracing change. Some changes may be beyond our control but we will always build a healthy response to them. With what influence we have, we will contribute to review and refresh government guidance and as things change, as a charity we will remain the authors of our own story, shaping our future work to continue meeting the needs of young people.