by Web Manager, 30 May, 2018

Advice for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior leadership teams and designated leads.

Addressing the issues of sexual violence and sexual harassment between children.

Recent advice provided by the Department for Education (DfE) focused on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children at school and college. For the purposes of this advice, a child is anyone under the age of 18. It provides advice on what sexual violence and sexual harassment is, how to minimise the risk of it occurring and what to do when incidents occur, or are alleged to have occurred.  The advice highlights best practice and cross-references other advice, statutory guidance and the legal framework. It is for individual schools and colleges to develop their own policies and procedures. It is important that policies and procedures are developed in line with their legal obligations, including the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010, especially the Public Sector Equality Duty. It is important that schools and colleges consider how to reflect sexual violence and sexual harassment in their whole school or college approach to safeguarding and their own child protection policy.

The DfE will keep the advice under review, particularly as it develops its approach to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education. The DfE is expected to update the advice, in line with the intention to commence revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, in September 2018. You can download a copy using the following link:

Schools that are using Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, can be assured that their PSHE provision covers everything that is mentioned in the PSHE Association Programme of Study (2017). Jigsaw has been awarded the PSHE Association Quality Mark, and more besides, particularly in terms of mental health and emotional literacy.

The DfE guidance on sexual violence and sexual harassment states that schools need a planned curriculum as part of a whole-school approach. Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE alone will not ensure that your school is doing everything mentioned in the DfE guidance, one lesson a week could not achieve that – however good those lessons are, but it will contribute significantly, both through its spiral curriculum of taught lessons which nurture self-esteem and pupil voice, and through its whole-school approach, assemblies, weekly celebrations etc., which support the building of a positive ethos and focus on respectful relationships with self and others, celebrating diversity and engendering agency and pupil voice.

According to the DfE, the most effective preventative education programme will be through a whole-school approach that prepares pupils for life in modern Britain. The school will have a clear set of values and standards, which Jigsaw PSHE helps to embed, and these will be upheld and demonstrated throughout all aspects of school life.

This will be underpinned by the school’s behaviour policy (refreshed each year with pupil contributions through the ‘Being Me in My World’ Puzzle in Jigsaw) and pastoral support system, and by a planned programme of evidence-based content delivered through the curriculum.

Such a programme will be developed to be age and stage of development appropriate, and may tackle such issues as:


  • healthy and respectful relationships;
  • what respectful behaviour looks like;
  • gender roles, stereotyping, equality;
  • body confidence and self-esteem;
  • prejudiced behaviour;
  • that sexual violence and sexual harassment is always wrong; and
  • addressing cultures of sexual harassment.


How Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, covers these areas

Healthy and respectful relationships


The Jigsaw Approach is one of positivity, teaching children about the benefits of positive relationships, positive mind-sets and healthy relationships. As such, there is ample opportunity in lessons and across the school day for children to learn how best to treat others and themselves, leaving little room for negative relationships and ways of being, which might be demonstrated through violence and disrespect.


The Relationships Puzzle (unit of work) also has a wide focus, looking at diverse topics such as families, friendships, pets and animals, and love and loss – all of which can help to deliver the vital messages behind the Equalities Act. A vital part of this Puzzle is about safeguarding and keeping children safe; this links to cyber safety and social networking, as well as attraction and assertiveness; children learn how to deal with conflict, their own strengths and self-esteem. They have the chance to explore roles and responsibilities in families, and look at stereotypes. All Jigsaw lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet children’s needs and can help them understand the wider world. This also means that children return to the same core themes in different ways, as part of a spiral, developmental and progressive curriculum.


The Relationships Puzzle (delivered Summer Term 1) explores all aspects of relationships, appropriate to different year groups, and deals with potentially sensitive issues, e.g. bereavement, family changes, loss, family composition, friendships, conflict resolution, attraction relationships. Whilst the core RSE content is delivered explicitly through the Relationships and Changing Me Puzzles, essential work is done in previous Puzzles to build children’s self-esteem, to enhance their own sense of self in regard to their body image, how to develop caring and healthy relationships and how to develop assertiveness skills in keeping themselves valued, safe and respected. The starting point in Jigsaw is children’s positive relationship with themselves, from which they can develop positive and healthy relationships with others.


What respectful behaviour looks like Jigsaw PSHE can help schools understand and promote respectful behaviour more fully and in a child-centred way. The Puzzle ‘Celebrating Difference’ focuses on similarities and differences and teaches about diversity, such as disability, racism, power, friendships, and conflict; children learn to accept everyone’s right to ‘difference’, and most year groups explore the concept of ‘normal’; bullying – what it is and what it isn’t and how to speak up and get help, including cyber and homophobic bullying – is an important aspect of this Puzzle.


Gender roles, stereotyping, equality
Prejudiced behaviour
That sexual violence and sexual harassment is always wrong Children are taught in the Relationships and Changing Me Puzzles about what constitutes a healthier relationship, what to do if someone does something they don’t like (taught from FS1 in all Puzzles), who to go to for help, which parts of their bodies are private (and therefore what to do if they feel uncomfortable about someone else’s interest in them), secrets to keep or not, and so on. If a child asked a question or made a comment that alerted the teacher to a possible CSE case, we would urge them to speak to the school’s CPO, and this is highlighted in the teaching notes.


Addressing cultures of sexual harassment
Body confidence and self-esteem The Changing Me Puzzle deals with change of many types, from growing from young to old, becoming a teenager, assertiveness, self-respect and safeguarding. Self- and body image, puberty, attraction and accepting change are diverse subjects for children to explore, and they do so within a safe and positive learning environment that is set up as part of each Jigsaw lesson. Each year group also thinks about change in a wider context, through looking ahead, moving year groups or the transition to secondary school. Life cycles and how babies are made and grow are treated sensitively and are designed to meet children’s needs. All year groups learn about how people and bodies change, and the confidence associated with these changes. This Puzzle links with the Science curriculum when teaching children about life cycles, babies and puberty. The work that children do in the Changing Me Puzzle also links directly to the Relationships Puzzle, where children learn about how to enjoy a healthier relationship with themselves, thus fostering improved body confidence and self-esteem.



The Jigsaw team does its best to support teachers who do feel they need explicit lesson material on these issues, and we are aware that this is absolutely necessary in some schools.

Instead of adding such lessons to the universal Jigsaw curriculum package, we add support material to the Jigsaw website for teachers to download (free of charge) if they need it. Sometimes we feel it more appropriate to signpost teachers to specialist organisations already working on these issues for schools. The DfE guidance states that, as part of their approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment, schools and colleges should consider carefully if external input is necessary. This might be to train and/or support their staff, teach their children and/or provide support to their children.

The Jigsaw philosophy, underpinned by mindfulness, is one of early intervention and prevention, helping to build children’s knowledge, emotional literacy, confidence and resilience, enabling them to recognise when they need help and support, and empowering them to speak up and stay safe.

In essence, teaching about safety and relationships as part of PSHE (and particularly RSE) contributes to how schools approach the safeguarding of pupils. It helps them to recognise when they and others are at risk and equips them with the skills, strategies and language they need to take appropriate action. This is crucial to fulfilling statutory duties in relation to safeguarding pupils as well as to meeting Ofsted expectations.

It is still a school’s responsibility to ensure that their PSHE policy (including RSE) is up to date.  A sample and editable PSHE policy is downloadable from the Jigsaw Community Area of the website.


Additional tools and procedures

There are additional tools and procedures in Jigsaw that can help to create a nurturing, positive environment in schools.

The Learning Environment

Jigsaw aims to meet children’s needs in this ever-changing world and does not skirt around the most sensitive issues like bereavement and family change.

Therefore, establishing a safe, open and positive learning environment based on trusting relationships between all members of the class, adults and children alike, is vital.

To enable this, it is important that ‘ground rules’ are agreed and owned at the beginning of the year and are reinforced in every Piece – by using The Jigsaw Charter, the first lesson plans of the Being Me in My World Puzzle enable this. It needs to include the aspects below:

The Jigsaw Charter

  • We take turns to speak
  • We use kind and positive words
  • We listen to each other
  • We have the right to pass
  • We only use names when giving compliments or when being positive
  • We respect each other’s privacy (confidentiality)

The behaviours of the Jigsaw Charter will be reflected in the whole-school Learning Charter developed in Being Me in My World and will permeate the school community, acting as the ‘cradle’ to hold children as they grow and learn. This Learning Charter forms the basis of the positive behaviour policy.

The Jigsaw Circle

Most Puzzles include the use of The Jigsaw Circle in some Pieces. The Jigsaw Circle is a tried and tested teaching approach, bringing children and adults together to feel equal, included and valued so that they can share ideas, thoughts and feelings. Sitting in a circle either all on chairs or all on the floor means adults and children are sharing the experience and learning together.

The circle approach is used regularly in Jigsaw. It is important that children understand the circle approach rules so that they feel safe and valued and enjoy these experiences. A structured approach, building up to a full circle time will be introduced gradually. Using the Jigsaw Friend as the Talking Object, for example, when you are holding Jigsaw Jack it would be your turn to speak (if you choose to) and be listened to. The Talking Object is also a useful distancing technique and helps children work with potentially sensitive issues without asking them to talk about themselves directly.


Teachers need to be aware that sometimes disclosures may be made during these sessions; in which case, safeguarding procedures must be followed immediately. Sometimes it is clear that certain children may need time to talk one-to-one after the circle closes. It is important to allow the time and appropriate staffing for this to happen.

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE)

The specific sex education content (puberty and human reproduction) is taught through the Changing Me Puzzle (delivered in Summer 2). All the teaching resources are original to Jigsaw and comprise picture cards, resource sheets and animations, all of which are used to enhance teaching and learning.

The specially-commissioned animations of the female reproductive system and the male reproductive system provide a visual resource to enable children to understand how the body changes and develops in puberty.

These are downloadable from the Community area of the Jigsaw website as appropriate to the needs of different year groups and are used at the school’s discretion.

It is also advised that the whole-school PSHE policy (including the specifics of RSE) is reviewed regularly and updated with parents, carers and governors being consulted on the curriculum content and delivery.

Jigsaw runs annual RSE training events to offer ongoing opportunities for teachers to gain confidence, support with updating policy and working with parents.

Additional information

The grid below includes numerous Jigsaw lessons where children can learn the skills that may be associated with preventing sexual violence and sexual harassment, in an age- and stage-appropriate way.

Year Group Puzzle (unit) Piece (lesson) Content Link to safeguarding
F1/2 Celebrating Difference 6 – Standing up for yourself Children learn how to improve things if they don’t like what someone says or does to them. Children are given the opportunity to practise the phrase, ‘Please don’t do that, I don’t like it’; they are also reminded that if someone says that to them, they have to stop whatever they are doing to cause another children to say the phrase.
F1/2 Changing Me 2 – Respecting my body Reinforcing the concept that our bodies are precious and need looking after. This lesson helps to reinforce how children can take responsibility for their bodies (to a point) and how to look after themselves.
1 Relationships 4 – People who help us Using the scenario cards (or make up your own), children act out scenarios showing when they can ask for help and from whom they can receive help. If children find something unsuitable on a computer, or see/hear something that they feel uncomfortable about, practise with them who they can ask for help and what they can say.
1 Changing Me 4 – Boys’ and Girls’ Bodies Children identify the parts of the body that make boys different to girls and can use the correct, scientific names for them By using correct terminology for part of the body, children can learn to respect their own and others’ bodies and understand which parts are private (meaning ‘special and important’, not ‘guilty’ or ‘not very nice’).
2 Relationship 2 – Keeping safe – exploring physical contact The lesson focuses on how there are many different forms of physical contact within a family – and some of this is acceptable and some is not. Children can think about which types of physical contact they like, which they don’t like, and they can talk about this in a safe way. Some of the lesson is taught through stories. Teachers are encouraged to be vigilant throughout this lesson.
2 Relationship 4 – Secrets Children learn that sometimes secrets are good and sometimes they are not good – and how they feel if they are asked to keep a secret they don’t want to keep, and who to talk to about it. Through understanding about good secrets and ‘worry’ secrets, children can practise giving advice to Jigsaw Jo to help with any ‘worry’ secrets. Teachers can emphasise that ‘worry’ secrets need to be told to an adult and not kept inside.
3 Celebrating Difference 2 – Family conflict This lesson explores how sometimes conflict occurs in families and how children can calm themselves down and use solution techniques to help themselves. Using the story, ‘And Tango Makes Three’, children think about a possible source of family conflict and think of ways to help solve it. Teachers need to be aware of all children’s domestic situations (particularly any that may be violent) before teaching this lesson; notes in the lesson plan are provided to help.
3 Healthy Me 4 – Being safe Children identify things, people and places that they need to keep safe from, and can share some strategies for keeping themselves safe, including who to go to for help. Using the ‘We are keeping safe from…’ cards, children can come up with strategies for Jigsaw Jino to keep safe in different situations, including online. Children can also complete the ‘Keeping Safe’ templates to form their contributing chapter for the school’s Healthy, Happy Me Recipe Book (assessment task).
3 Relationships 3 – Keeping myself safe Children discuss things that they might need to keep safe from and complete a ‘keep safe’ label template. In discussions, teachers can draw out of children that they might need to think about keeping safe, including when they are online.
4 Healthy Me 6 – Celebrating My Inner Strength and Assertiveness Helping children learn that they can have a clear picture of what they believe is right and wrong, and to know how to be assertive when they need to be. Children can learn to draw on their own sense of right and wrong to help make decisions that suit them. Using some simple assertiveness techniques can help children feel more empowered in their lives and can help to keep them from harm.
6 Relationships 4 – Power and Control Returning to more assertiveness training, where children learn to recognise when people are trying to gain control or power, and how they can stand up for themselves (and their friends) in situations when others try to gain control or power. Power and Control headlines and scenario cards are used to facilitate discussion among the children so they can decide on whether someone is being ‘controlling’ – and then to practise some helpful assertiveness techniques, which demonstrate how to deal with some of these situations.


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