Relationship and Sex Education
The subject is more often referred to as ‘SRE’ – Sex and Relationship Education. We think this is misleading (and might back up helpful descriptions in tabloid headlines) because it has far more to do with relationships. Children in Reception will naturally talk about different relationships; this might include:
- relationships with family members compared with relationships with people at school
- developing friendships and the need to get on with everyone, and ways to cope if relationships are hard
- different families, some with a mum and dad, but others with a different make-up
This is why we’ve ‘tweaked’ the name – relationships comes first. It’s important to develop children’s understanding of relationships throughout their primary years.
Regarding sex education, elements of the statutory Science curriculum act as the starting point for what children learn, specifically at Year 5:
Pupils should be taught to describe the changes as humans develop to old age
Non-statutory notes and guidance:
Pupils should draw a timeline to indicate stages in the growth and development of humans. They should learn about the changes experienced in puberty.
Pupils could work scientifically by researching the gestation periods of other animals and comparing them with humans; by finding out and recording the length and mass of a baby as it grows.
Children can become aware of sexual matters from an early age: they receive information (either explicitly or implicitly) from family, peers, the media and the general values and attitudes they encounter in society. This approach can lead to misconceptions. There are many advantages of school-based RSE. It provides a structured programme matched to the ages and development stages of pupils. It can combat ignorance and fear and clarify existing knowledge by providing accurate information. It can provide opportunities to discuss feelings, emotions and attitudes in a safe, non-threatening situation. It can also help to create a natural, positive attitude towards sexuality and to develop the skills needed to manage relationships. By providing opportunities to exchange ideas, it can promote tolerance and understanding of others. The sharing of ideas can contribute to the development of values and a personal sense of morality.
We are fully aware of the moral, legal, cultural and ethnic dimensions of the subject. Equally, we understand the importance of parents’ / carers’ views in relation to RSE. Information regarding the structure of sex education lessons and materials available and the school’s policy is always available for any parent to view.
Parents / carers have the choice of withdrawing their children from sex education lessons if considered necessary. However, please be aware that we will sometimes discuss issues around relationships (eg same-sex couples, use and misuse of terms such as ‘gay’) as and when appropriate. We believe this is the right and proper thing to do. It is not always possible to withdraw children from such discussions if they arise, and it is not considered appropriate to do so by the Department for Education (see its advice regarding bullying, for example).
Read the full policy. Like all policies, a paper copy is available from school.