Sex and relationships education
Sex and relationship education (SRE) is lifelong learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships and sexual health. We recognise the importance of SRE in preparing young people to live safe, fulfilled and healthy lives.
We believe that effective, age-appropriate education about relationships and sex can:
- Foster positive attitudes and values of love and respect; promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- Contribute to reducing unintended teenage pregnancy and rates of STI transmission
- Lead to young people delaying first sex
- Help to protect young people by giving them knowledge and skills to make safe choices and recognise and manage risk
- Allow young people to get answers to their questions and contribute positively towards the healthy schools agenda.
- Meet our legal requirement to give ‘due regard’ to the DfEE SRE guidance (2000).
The objective of SRE is to help support young people through their physical, emotional and moral development.
- To consider social and moral dilemmas; to value and respect different types of relationships; to foster respect and responsibility for myself/my body and for others; to clarify myths and misconceptions; to address stereotyping.
- To address behaviour in public and private; to encourage self-awareness; to develop decision making skills, including critical thinking, awareness of choices and how to act on decisions made; to develop communication skills with peers, parents and other adults.
- To understand the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty; to know what help is available and how to access it; to create opportunities to ask questions and clarify ideas in a safe environment; to provide appropriate information that is relevant to the needs, age and maturity of the pupils; to improve awareness and understanding of the opposite gender and of sexuality; to be able to recognise, acknowledge and positively deal with emotions.
Roles and responsibilities
The Principal is in charge of the overall responsibility for sex and relationship education, including overseeing that the policy is implemented.
- All staff will be made aware of the policy and their role within it. Training is made available through a series of in-school provision activities.
- Where issues might arise there is a clear route for referral whether the issue is an educational one or one that might involve the pastoral care team or child protection.
- Some outside agencies may be used as part of our SRE provision – they bring new perspectives and offer specialised knowledge, experience and resources, are used to complement rather than to replace our planned programme. Any professional who is involved in delivering SRE lessons follows the school’s SRE and confidentiality policies.
- When health workers are in a one-to-one situation they should follow their own professional code of conduct and meet the academy’s expectations as laid out in the staff code of conduct.
- We believe parents and carers have a crucial role to play in their children’s learning about sex and relationships. We intend that the school’s SRE programme complements and supports their role.
Delivery and methodology
Our SRE provision is designed to help improve our students’ knowledge and understanding and help them develop their own attitudes, values and personal and social skills so that they can make their own sound decisions in all aspects of relationships and sexual activity.
The SRE programme
- SRE is taught in teaching time to Year 10 through their life skills lessons. Years 7- 11 will also have a complementary programme / provision built into tutor time and assemblies. We also collapse the timetable for specific days in the year to deliver a full day of Sex and Relationship lessons. This teaching time allows us to assess and confirm basic knowledge for all students particularly around puberty, relationships and diversity. We will then build on that learning in the following areas: Puberty; Menstruation; Conception; Contraception; Abortion; Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS; Relationships; Sexual identity and sexual orientation; Childcare and parenting; Harassment; Accessing services.
- SRE fits naturally within PSHCE education. This helps to ensure that SRE is delivered in the wider context of relationships and that pupils are prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Some of the ‘biological’ aspects of SRE are covered within the science curriculum. These may be complemented by work in: English – discussion or written work stemming from fiction; Drama – assertive and other communication skills, conflict resolution, role-play; Citizenship – gender stereotypes and the media, topical issues; Philosophy and ethics – moral issues, religious views on abortion; Geography – family planning and population. Occasionally the school may decide to address issues relating to sex and relationships through special events such as assemblies or Theatre in Education.
- We draw on the statutory curricula for science and the non-statutory programme of study for PSHCE education.
- As issues relating to SRE arise locally or nationally we will consider addressing these in our programme on the basis of their relevance to our pupils.
- It is important that young people feel able to ask questions and that these are valued. Teachers will need to consider the age and maturity of the pupils when answering questions and consider how they relate to the intended learning for that class.
Equal opportunities and inclusion
All pupils in the school, including those with special needs, are entitled to SRE which meets their needs. In particular, we aim to ensure that the programme is relevant to:
- The range of cultures and faiths of pupils at the school and within UK society; pupils with special needs; pupils infected or affected by HIV; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils; pupils from different family settings, including single parent, adoptive, foster, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender families.
Withdrawing pupils from SRE
- The school recognises that parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the school’s SRE programme, except those parts covered by the national curriculum, that is, in science. Parents are not able to withdraw their children if issues related to SRE are addressed in other lessons.
If parents wish to withdraw their children from any part of the programme they will need to do so in writing, to the Principal.
Confidentiality and child protection
- At the beginning of a series of SRE lessons the class will discuss and agree ground rules. Confidentiality will be raised during this discussion and pupils will be informed of the limits of confidentiality that can be guaranteed by a teacher. Pupils will also be told about confidential sexual health services that can be accessed by young people in the area and informed that young people under 16 can receive confidential advice and services from health providers, including the school nurse. Teachers will not give health-care advice but can refer young people to appropriate health services without breaching confidentiality.
- Teachers and other staff may be party to sensitive information about pupils. All staff have a clear understanding of child protection procedures and of their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and have regular training on this issue. If this person believes that a child is at risk or in danger, or has concerns regarding any matter relating to safeguarding or Child Protection then s/he will talk to the Child Protection Officer who will confer with the Principal before any decision is made. The child concerned will be informed that the referral has taken place and the reasons why. The teacher will support the child throughout the process. For more details please refer to the school’s safeguarding policy.
Pupil progress throughout the year will be monitored by the review of written work and verbal contribution throughout lessons and progress monitored by the Head of Year. There will be self-assessment tasks throughout the drop down days that will confirm students’ understanding of the topic.
The teaching of SRE will be monitored through informal drop-ins throughout. Pupil feedback will be gathered through a pupil survey after the event to ensure it meets the changing needs of young people and reflects the views and values of the school community.
This policy will be put to Governors for approval, review and ratification every two years. It is available to download here: Sex and Relationships Policy.pdf