Sex and Relationships Education Policy
We have based our school’s sex and relationship policy on the DfEE guidance document Sex and Relationships Guidance (ref DfEE 0116/2000). In this document, sex education is defined as ‘learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about understanding the importance of marriage for family life, stable and loving relationships, love and care. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality and sexual health’.
At Thurton Primary School , sex and relationship education is part of the personal, social and health education curriculum. While we use sex education to inform children about sexual issues, we do this with regard to matters of morality and individual responsibility. We acknowledge that there will be a wide variety of home experiences and situations. All children and their families have a right to privacy, respect and acceptance and our approach will be non-judgemental and respectful. However, whilst recognising the diversity of family backgrounds, it is still possible to promote the traditional view in which a sexual relationship constitutes an integral part of the life of a stable, loving couple.
- To complement and support the work of parents.
- To prepare pupils to cope with the physical and emotional challenges of growing up.
- To give pupils an elementary understanding of human reproduction.
- To support the personal and social development of all pupils.
- To offer balanced and factual information appropriate to the age and maturity of the pupils acknowledging the moral and ethical issues involved.
- To discover what pupils know, understand, think and feel to identify their needs.
- To create a programme for progressive and differentiated learning which caters to pupils’ needs and is sensitive to individuals and groups.
- To encourage unembarrassed acceptance of sexuality by providing appropriate vocabulary for parts of the body and encourage positive attitudes to all bodily functions.
- To generate an atmosphere where questions and discussions on sexual matters can take place without embarrassment.
- To counteract misunderstanding of how the body functions.
- To enable pupils to accept variation in rates of growth and development (physical, emotional, social) and in ages when puberty or sexual activities commence.
- To provide constant reassurance that change is part of the life cycle and to give help in adjusting to these changes.
- To recognise the value of loving and caring relationships.
The teaching of all sex and relationship education is set within a clear, balanced sensitive and moral framework in which pupils are encouraged to consider the importance of respect, acceptance of responsibility, sensitivity, self-esteem, dignity, self-restraint, loyalty and fidelity.
- It is important that a range of teaching approaches is employed.
- Children need to acquire knowledge but also have opportunities to discuss issues openly.
- Group work is important as it enables children to develop personal and social skills, exchange ideas and express attitudes.
- Consideration needs to be given to the organisation of group work, for example, size and composition of groups, negotiating ground rules to promote a confident and secure atmosphere.
Although the education of children on sexual and relationship matters is primarily the right and duty of the parents, the school accepts its responsibility to provide sex education for all children. Sex and relationship education teaching is, therefore, complementary to and supportive of the parents’ role.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education lessons but not from those elements that form part of the National Curriculum Science Order. Parents will, therefore, be notified in writing in advance of the lessons taking place and will be given an opportunity to view and discuss the materials used.
Responding to Children’s Questions
During lessons on sex education children may ask questions about topics which are not specifically taught as part of a planned programme. Such topics might include contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, homosexuality, abortion, rape etc. The teacher has to decide whether:
To answer the question right away.
To ask the child to wait for the answer until the class has been dismissed.
To contact the child’s parents.
To deal with the question in accordance with the school’s Child Protection Policy because there is a child protection issue.
As a general rule, if the question is about something which is likely to be appropriate to and relevant for the majority of the class, then it should be answered honestly, openly and right away.
All staff, including teaching and support staff, may be asked questions relating to sexual matters. The adult should be clear about what the child wants to know and the reason why. This will give an indication of the child’s own level of understanding. If possible, a simple, honest answer should be given but if a member of staff feels uncomfortable then the question should be referred to the headteacher, assistant headteachers and/or the child’s class teacher.
Staff should not promise confidentiality. If a child protection issue came to light, it must be reported to the headteacher who would take the appropriate action.
Use of Visitors
If visitors, for example the school nurse, are used to support the provision of sex education, the teacher must ensure that:
- A preliminary meeting has taken place to ensure appropriate content.
- That the content of the school’s policy is known and understood.
- That the needs of the individual class are catered for.
- The teacher is present so they can follow up the input at a later stage.
- The visitor can offer something specific and useful that the teacher cannot.
- The children have been told before hand of the visit and are prepared.
- That the visitor has experience in SRE and working with the children.
- Books, television and video programmes will be used to support the curriculum.
- Parents will be invited to view these resources should they so wish to and to attend a meeting before hand to discuss relevant issues.
Assessment and Record Keeping
- Long term, medium term and short term planning documents show knowledge covered by the schemes of work based on school guidelines.
- Older children will be encouraged to reflect on, evaluate and feedback on the sex and relationship education as appropriate.
Children will have equal access to the sex and relationship education unless specifically withdrawn from this provision by their parents. Extra care will be taken to ensure sensitivity is shown towards children whose maturity, experience of family life, sexual knowledge and moral framework is a cause for concern.
Monitoring the Policy
The policy was written in consultation with staff and governors. It will be monitored and reviewed in line with the school monitoring policy.
This policy was adopted by the Governing Body of Thurton Primary School at its meeting in March 2008.
Required content as set down in the National Curriculum
Children should relate their understanding of science to their personal health
By the end of Key Stage 2
Pupils should be taught
- That humans produce babies and that these babies grow into children, then adults.
- That there are life processes including nutrition, movement, growth and reproduction common to animals including humans.
- The main stages of the human life cycle.
N.B. They are also taught how to keep healthy in terms of food, water and exercise, the role of drugs and medicines and the names of external body parts.