This policy will describe the procedures that the staff of the school will use to encourage healthy and educated lifestyles as our children grow into teenagers and adults.
Sex and Relationships Education is an important element of the school’s work in preparing children for adult life. We are committed to helping children understand the importance of loving and caring relationships and how to recognise, avoid and prevent abuse within relationships. The teaching and learning in this area is designed to promote the development of children into self-confident, healthy, and responsible adults.
Pupils at our schools are encouraged to consider the moral, social and safety issues related to sex and relationships and to be prepared for the physical and emotional changes they will face as they enter puberty and adulthood. We encourage children to feel comfortable with open and frank communication.
It is the aim of the staff and governors that through a programme of health and sex education delivered in partnership with parents, pupils in this school will learn about:
- the physical development of their bodies as they grow into adults;
- the way 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;
- safeguarding, and what they should do if they are worried about any situations that make them feel uncomfortable.
We teach about sex in the context of the school’s aims and values framework (see the values statement in the Curriculum Policy). While sex education in our school means that we give children information about sexual behaviour, we do this with awareness of the moral code, and of the values, which underpin all our work in school. In particular, we teach about sex in the belief that:
- sex should be taught about in the context of relationships and family life;
- sex education 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, and be aware of the consequences of sexual activity;
- it is important to build positive relationships with others, involving trust and respect;
- children need to learn the importance of self-control.
We teach about sex through different aspects of the curriculum. While we carry out the main sex education in our personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum, we also do some sex education 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.
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.
In science lessons teachers inform children about puberty and how a baby is born. For this aspect of our teaching we follow the guidance material in the national scheme of work for science. In Key Stage 1 we teach children about how animals, including humans, move, feed, grow and reproduce, and 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.
In Year 5 we place a particular emphasis on health education, as many children experience puberty at this age. We liaise with the Local Health Authority about suitable teaching materials to use with our children in these lessons. Teachers do their best to answer all questions with sensitivity and care. By the end of Key Stage 2, we ensure that both boys and girls know how babies are born, how children’s bodies change during puberty, what menstruation is, and how it affects women. We always teach this with due regard for the emotional development of the children.
The role of parents
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:
- inform parents about the school’s sex education policy and practice;
- answer any questions that parents may have about the sex education of their child; take seriously any issue that parents raise with teachers or governors about this policy, or about the arrangements for sex education 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 sex education, so that the teaching in school supports the key messages that parents and carers give to children at home.
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.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the sex education programme that we teach in our school. If a parent wishes their child to be withdrawn from sex education 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.
The role of other members of the community
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 sex education programme. Other people that we call on include local clergy, social workers and youth workers.
Teachers conduct sex education 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 head teacher who is the named person for child protection issues about their concerns. The head teacher will then deal with the matter in line with area child protection procedures.
The role of the Head teacher
It is the responsibility of the head teacher to ensure that both staff and parents are informed about our sex education policy, and that the policy is implemented effectively within the scheme for gender equality. It is also the head teacher’s responsibility to ensure that members of staff are given training, so that they can teach about sex effectively, and handle any difficult issues with sensitivity.
The head teacher liaises with external agencies regarding the school sex education 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.
The head teacher monitors this policy on a regular basis, and reports to governors, when requested, on the effectiveness of the policy.
Monitoring and review
This policy will be reviewed every 2 years in line with other policies on the governing body rolling programme.