Sex and Relationship Education Policy

1         Introduction

1.1       Our school’s policy on sex and relationship education is based on the DfES document Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (2010). We recognise Sex and Relationship Education as the policy’s full title, but for brevity’s sake we will refer in the rest of this policy simply to ‘SRE’.

1.2       In the DfES document, SRE is defined as ‘learning about physical, moral and emotional development’. The guidance states, ‘It is about understanding the importance of marriage for family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care.’

1.3       SRE is part of the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum in our school and is about preparing children for the physical changes of puberty. When we inform our pupils through SRE about sexual issues, we do this with regard to cultural values and teachings, morality and individual responsibility, and in a way that allows children to ask and explore moral questions. We do not use SRE as a means of promoting any form of sexual orientation or sexual activity.

2         Aims and objectives

2.1       We teach children about:

  • the physical development of their bodies as they grow into adults;
  • what the cultural context of this is
  • that humans reproduce;
  • respect for their own bodies and the importance of sexual activity as part of a committed, long-term, and loving relationship;
  • the importance of family life;
  • moral questions;
  • relationship issues;
  • respect for the views of other people;
  • sex abuse, and what they should do if they are worried about any sexual matters.
  • sex should be understood in the context of marriage and family life;
  • SRE is part of a wider process of social, personal, spiritual and moral education;
  • children should be taught to have respect for their own bodies;
  • children should learn about their responsibilities to others;
  • it is important to build positive relationships with others, involving trust and respect;
  • children need to learn the importance of self-control.
  • consult with parents on all matters of health education policy;
  • train all our teachers to teach in this area;
  • listen to the views of the children in our school regarding the curriculum;
  • look positively at any local initiatives that support us in providing the best SRE programme that we can devise.
  • inform parents about the school’s SRE policy and practice;
  • answer any questions that parents may have about the education of their child in this area;
  • take seriously any issue that parents raise with teachers or governors about this policy, or about the arrangements for SRE in the school;
  • encourage parents to be involved in reviewing the school policy, and making modifications to it as necessary;
  • inform parents about the best practice known with regard to SRE so that the teaching in school supports the key messages that parents and carers give to children at home.

3         Context

3.1       We teach in the context of the school’s aims and values framework (see the values statement in the Curriculum Policy). We teach about physical development in the belief that:

4         The National Healthy School Standard

4.1       We now participate in the National Healthy School Standard scheme, which promotes health education. As participants in this scheme we:

5         Organisation

5.1       We teach SRE through different aspects of the curriculum. While we carry out the main teaching in our personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum, we also do SRE through other subject areas (for example, science and PE) which we believe contribute significantly to children’s knowledge and understanding of their own bodies, and how they are changing and developing.

5.2       In PSHE we teach children about relationships, and we encourage children to discuss issues. We teach about the parts of the body, and how these work, and we explain to the children what will happen to their bodies during puberty. For example, we teach the children that boys’ voices will change during puberty, and we explain menstruation to both boys and girls. We encourage the children to ask for help if they need it.

5.3       In PSHE lessons teachers inform children about puberty. For this aspect of our teaching we follow the guidance material in the national guidance for PSHE. In Key Stage 1 we teach children about how animals, including humans, move, feed, grow and that they reproduce. We also teach them about the main parts of the body. Children learn to appreciate the fact that people are not all the same, and that we need to respect each other. In Key Stage 2 we teach about life processes and the main stages of the human life cycle in greater depth.

5.4       In Year 5 and in Year 6 we place a particular emphasis on health education as many children experience puberty at this age. We liaise with the Local Health Authority, parents and local faith groups about suitable teaching materials to use with our children in these lessons. Teachers do their best to deal with all questions with sensitivity and care. By the end of Key Stage 2, we ensure that both boys and girls know how children’s bodies change during puberty, good personal hygiene, what menstruation is and how it affects women. We always teach this with due regard for the emotional development of the children.

5.5       We arrange a meeting for all parents and carers of children in Year 5 and 6 to discuss this particular programme of lessons, to explain what the issues are, and how they are taught, and to see the materials the school uses in its teaching.

6         The role of parents

6.1       The school is well aware that the primary role in children’s sex education lies with parents and carers. We therefore wish to build a positive and supporting relationship with the parents of children at our school, through mutual understanding, trust and cooperation. To promote this objective we:

We believe that, through this mutual exchange of knowledge and information, children will benefit from being given consistent messages about their changing bodies and their increasing responsibilities.

6.2       Parents have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the SRE programme that we teach in our school. If a parent wishes their child to be withdrawn from SRE lessons, they should discuss this with the head teacher, and make it clear which aspects of the programme they do not wish their child to participate in. The school always complies with the wishes of parents in this regard.

7         The role of other members of the community

7.1       We encourage other valued members of the community to work with us to provide advice and support to the children with regard to health education. In particular, members of the Local Health Authority, such as the school nurse and other health professionals, give us valuable support with our SRE programme. Other people that we call on include local faith groups, social workers and youth workers.

8         Confidentiality

8.1       Teachers conduct SRE lessons in a sensitive manner, and in confidence. However, if a child makes a reference to being involved (or being likely to be involved) in sexual activity, then the teacher will take the reference seriously, and deal with it as a matter of child protection. Teachers will respond in a similar way if a child indicates that they may have been a victim of abuse. They will not try to investigate, but will immediately inform the named person for child protection issues about their concerns. The head teacher will then deal with the matter in consultation with health care professionals (see also our policy on Child Protection).

9         The role of the head teacher

9.1       It is the responsibility of the head teacher to ensure that both staff and parents are informed about our SRE policy, and that the policy is implemented effectively. It is also the head teacher’s responsibility to ensure that members of staff are given sufficient training, so that they can teach the subject effectively, and handle any difficult issues with sensitivity.

9.2       The head teacher liaises with external agencies regarding the school SRE programme, and ensures that all adults who work with our children on these issues are aware of the school policy, and work within its framework.

9.3       The head teacher monitors this policy on a regular basis, and reports to governors, when requested, on the effectiveness of the policy.

10       Monitoring and review

10.1     The Curriculum Committee of the governing body monitors the impact of our SRE policy on an annual basis. This committee reports its findings and recommendations to the full governing body, as necessary, if the policy needs modification. The Curriculum Committee gives serious consideration to any comments from parents about the SRE programme, and makes a record of all such comments. Governors require the head teacher to keep a written record, giving details of the content and delivery of our SRE programme.

10.2     This policy will be reviewed in two years, or earlier if necessary.