The purpose of this document is to provide for teachers, parents and governors a clear summary of the role of sex and relationship education (SRE) within the broad education offered at St Mary’s C.E. Primary School. SRE is firmly rooted in our school’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education programme and Citizenship Framework and is also delivered as part of other curriculum areas such as Science.
This policy links with other school policies such as the SMSC and citizenship policy, anti- bullying policy, equal opportunities policy, safeguarding policy (including E-safety), confidentiality policy and health and safety policy.
Sex and relationship education is lifelong learning about how we change as we grow, sexual relationships, sexuality, emotions, sex and sexual health. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes. Sex and relationship education should empower children and young people, build self-esteem, offer a positive and open view of sex and support sexual self-acceptance and mutual respect.
The policy will be used by:
- teachers, who will look to it to guide their lesson planning and to put boundaries around the issues they can explore with children and young people, and the range of ways that these can be explored
- parents, who will look to see both the SRE curriculum content and the values the school is promoting
- health professionals, visiting speakers and so on, who will want to know the aims, objectives and values the school’s SRE promotes, agreed teaching methodologies and boundaries for their work with young people
- partner schools, who will want to know the school’s approach to SRE so they can plan their curriculum in a way that ensures continuity of values and progression in learning.
Aims and objectives of sex and relationship education
SRE supports and promotes our pupils’ ‘spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life’.
At St. Mary’s C.E, SRE is underpinned by the ethos and values of our school and we uphold it as an entitlement for all our pupils. We believe that as a Church school, we should positively set standards of behaviour and morality which are informed by our Christian Framework and not merely accept or reflect existing social and moral standards. The pupils will be encouraged to have due regard to moral considerations and the value of ‘family’ life. We recognise the need to work as a whole school community to ensure a shared understanding of SRE and the values under-pinning it and to deliver an effective programme that meets the needs of our pupils and taking into account other faiths, abilities and backgrounds.
We aim to develop an understanding in our pupils of the biological, emotional, social, legal and moral aspects of sex and sexuality. We teach SRE within the wider context of building self-esteem, emotional well-being, relationships and healthy lives beginning in the early years through to Year 6.
The SRE curriculum will be concerned with:
- the discussion of attitudes and values.
- the development of a range of personal and social skills.
- the provision of factual information and the development of the understanding of it.
The objectives for SRE should match the age and maturity of the pupils involved. For KS1 and KS2, our learning outcomes include:
Attitudes and Values
• to learn the value of respect, love and care.
• to learn to value and respect ourselves and others.
• to develop an understanding and valuing of diversity.
• to promote a positive attitude to healthy lifestyle and keeping safe.
• to developing an understanding of the value of family life and an appreciation of the many different types of family.
Personal and Social Skills
• to learn how to identify and manage emotions confidently and sensitively.
• to develop self-respect and empathy for others.
• to develop communication skills with peers, school and family.
• to learn how to assess risk and to develop strategies for keeping safe.
• to develop the ability to give and secure help.
• to develop an understanding of difference and an absence of prejudice.
Knowledge and Understanding
• to recognise and name the main external parts of the body including agreed names for sexual parts.
• to know the basic rules for keeping themselves safe and healthy.
• to know about human life processes such as conception, birth and puberty.
• to develop an understanding of the physical and emotional aspects of puberty.
• to learn that safe routines can stop the spread of viruses such as HIV.
• to know who can provide help and support.
The sex and relationship education curriculum
SRE is delivered through the four interrelated strands of SMSC:
A) Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of pupils’ abilities.
B) Preparing to play an active role as citizens.
C) Developing a healthy safer lifestyle.
D) Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people.
Guidance on SMSC & citizenship includes the breadth of opportunities pupils’ need to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding and these are embraced in our whole school approach to PSHE. In SMSC, SRE is placed within the context of talking about feelings and relationships. Ensuring SRE is embedded within SMSC will ensure a focus upon self-esteem and respect for self and others.
The SRE programme also includes elements of the statutory new Science curriculum 2014, which is mandatory for all pupils. Parents / carers are not able to withdraw their children from the Science National Curriculum but are able to withdraw their child from some parts of the SRE education that they feel are inappropriate.
National Curriculum Science 2014
Key Stage 1:
Animals including humans
• Identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense
• Notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults
• Find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air)
• Describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene
Key Stage 2:
Animals including humans
• Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
• Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.
• Describe the changes as humans develop to old age.
• Pupils should draw a timeline to indicate stages in the growth and development of humans. They should learn about the changes experienced in puberty.
The organisation of sex and relationship education
SRE is co-ordinated by the Science and RE/PHSE co-ordinators and they are responsible for the overall planning, implementation and review of the programme. They monitor the planning and delivery of content, provides appropriate resources, and offers guidance and support in the delivery and assessment of SRE.
The Science and RE Co-ordinators will endeavour to keep up-to-date with materials and guidance for SRE, in line with other curriculum areas. The school will support this by affording them regular opportunities for appropriate training. They may lead, organise or inform staff and the wider school community of training and current issues.
Class teachers with their understanding and knowledge about their pupils in terms of age, maturity, development, religious, cultural and special needs are in the best position to deliver most SRE. Therefore, it is our aim that all teachers will be able to deliver SRE in their class with support and training.
We welcome the support of visitors offering specialist support and links with the community. The school nurse, other health professionals and Theatre in Education groups, may be involved at different stages of the programme.
Visitor sessions always complement the existing SRE provision and never replace or substitute teacher-led curriculum provision. The lessons are prepared with the visiting speaker and the class teacher will remain with the class at all times.
Role of Governors
The governors have been consulted on this policy and have ratified it.
Training and Development Need
The Science and SMSC subject leaders will receive appropriate training at least every 3 years to update knowledge and access resources. The subject leaders will share knowledge with all staff and governors whenever necessary. Training will include the appropriate ways to respond to issues and discussions raised by children in an informal setting and on issues related to confidentiality and child protection.
• Designated SRE curriculum times, which provides focused opportunities for raising specific issues in a safe and structured session.
• Cross-curricular links, when appropriate SRE, will also be delivered in Science, ICT and Literacy.
• Circle-time, planned to support the delivery of SMSC, may also be used to cover some of the SRE programme.
• Generally SRE will be taught in mixed groups so that boys and girls are encouraged to work with each other. It is important that both boys and girls know about the experience of puberty for the opposite gender. However, there will be planned opportunities for single gender sessions in year 6 to explore gender specific issues, such as management of periods and puberty, or what is good/bad about being a girl/boy before discussing the issues with the opposite sex. Single gender sessions will also take into account the different ways boys and girls learn effectively and provide a forum to ask ‘embarrassing’ questions.
The delivery of the sex and relationship education curriculum will be done using ‘Teaching SRE with confidence in Primary School’ by The Christopher Winter Project. Teachers and staff will use a range of strategies to deliver SRE but will focus on active and experiential learning techniques. This will enable pupil participation and involvement in their learning and develop pupil’s confidence in talking, listening and thinking about sex and relationships.
These techniques include:
• Establishing ground rules with pupils – as in all aspects of SMSC a set of ground rules helps create a safe environment.
• Using ‘distancing’ techniques.
• Knowing how to deal with unexpected questions or comments from pupils.
• Encouraging reflection.
Specific issues and language to use:
We recognise that some aspects of SRE for teachers, pupils, parents and the wider school community may be considered sensitive or challenging. We respect the varied beliefs and values held by our school community, however, personal beliefs and attitudes will not influence the teaching of SRE. Teachers and all those contributing to SRE are expected to work within our agreed values framework as described in this policy and supported by current legislation and guidelines.
Pupils may ask explicit or difficult questions, or seek information about specific issues. It is school policy to address these questions and provide information in a straightforward, age and maturity appropriate way. Questions do not have to be addressed at the time, and can be addressed individually later. The school believes that individual teachers must use their own skill and discretion in these situations and refer to the head if they are concerned.
An anonymous question box is advisable and ‘open question’ sessions should be avoided. The school nurse may be used to support this process. In this way, pupils will be offered reassurance and will have misinformation corrected.
The main teaching tool is ‘Teaching SRE with confidence in Primary School’ by The Christopher Winter Project. All resources are selected to ensure that they are consistent with the school ethos and values and support the SRE aims and objectives. Care is taken to ensure resources comply with the school’s Equal Opportunities Policy and are age appropriate and in line with the school’s values.
All the materials are available for parents/carers to view on request from the class teacher.
Special educational needs (SEN) and learning difficulties
Our pupils have different abilities based on their emotional and physical development, life experiences, literacy levels and learning difficulties, but we will aim to ensure that all pupils are properly included in SRE.
Some pupils with SEN may be more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation than their peers, and others may be confused about what is acceptable public behaviour. These pupils in particular will need to develop skills to reduce the risks of being exploited, and to learn what sorts of behaviours are, and are not, acceptable.
Teachers may have to be more explicit and plan work in different ways in order to meet the individual needs of pupils with SEN or learning difficulties. It is helpful to remember to focus on activities that increase a pupil’s assertiveness, communication and relationship skills, their self-esteem and understanding. Active learning methods and drama techniques are particularly effective.
Consultation with pupils
A key aspect in employing effective teaching and learning strategies is the involvement of our pupils in their learning. We provide opportunities for them to evaluate the resources and also the teaching methods they preferred, were most comfortable with, and best met their needs.
Recording and assessment
In addition to the pupils’ self-assessment, teachers will assess pupils through informal methods, such as observations and discussions with a particular focus. Recorded work will be kept in their science books.
Some useful questions in assessment that teachers ask themselves and their pupils are:
• Skills – what have they learnt to do?
• Information – what do they now know?
• Attitudes and values – what do they think, feel, believe?
• Did all pupils e.g. girls and boys, engage equally with the activity?
• What do they need to learn next?
Monitoring and evaluation of the SRE curriculum
The review and monitoring of this policy is the responsibility of the Science and RE Co-ordinator and will include:
• Review of planning and guidance.
• Liaison with class teachers.
• Learning walk observations in line with other curriculum areas.
• Carrying-out a regular audit of provision in order to ensure we are meeting the needs of all our pupils and delivering an effective programme.
• Release time for the Co-ordinator to carry out the above.
The Science and RE/PHSE Co-ordinators are available to discuss the SRE programme with governors informally and will update this policy every two years to be ratified by the Governing Body.
Teachers and pupils will evaluate the lessons to aid future planning.
Confidentiality and Child Protection
Our school is committed to acting in the best interest of all the individuals within the school community. Pupils in our school will be constantly reminded of the benefits of confidentiality. Pupils will also be told, in age and maturity appropriate language, that teachers can keep confidentiality except when the teacher is concerned about their safety or that of another child. When appropriate, pupils will be informed of sources of confidential help such as the school nurse (in a one-to-one setting) and ‘Childline’.
Teachers and support staff are aware that teaching SRE can lead to pupil disclosures of abuse. All staff and visitors involved in the delivery of SRE are also clear that they cannot offer or give unconditional confidentiality to children in the school. Staff are also aware of school child protection procedures, based on local guidance, that there is a nominated person to turn to with concerns (Inclusion Manager). Staff will reassure pupils that, if confidentiality has to be broken, they will be informed first and supported.
Liaison with parents and carers
Our school would like to share responsibility with parents and carers in the delivery of SRE. We are confident that good communication and sharing our philosophy, aims and purpose of SRE will enable parents/carers to support our SRE programme.
We will invite parents’ views when drawing up and reviewing the policy, programme and resources used. This may be in different ways such as parent’s meetings, via newsletters or individual discussion with the head teacher, Science and RE Co-ordinators or class teacher. We send home an annual questionnaire to all phase 3 pupils, to consult with parents and carers about their thoughts, attitudes and needs concerning SRE.
Parents are notified about SRE education relating to puberty and reproduction and we will also do our best to support parents in talking to their children about SRE and will provide all year 6 pupils with information booklets relating to growing up.
The majority of parents are very supportive of SRE. A 2013 NAHT survey found that 88% of the parents of school-aged pupils polled want SRE to be compulsory.
Implementation of policy
This policy, including the supporting guidance, will be implemented and delivered by all staff.