Relationship and Sex Education at Parkwood
The school’s relationships and sex education policy is based on the statutory guidance from the Department for Education issued under Section 80A of the Education Act 2002 and section 403 of the Education Act 1996. This guidance was updated in September 2021.
Sex education is part of the personal, social and health education curriculum in school. Sex education informs children about sexual issues, with regard to matters of morality and individual responsibility, and in a way that allows children to ask and explore moral questions as well as scientific ones. Sex education is not used as a means of promoting any form of sexual orientation.
Aims and objectives
By the end of Year 6, children should have been taught about:
- the importance of family life, friendships and relationships including same-sex relationships, single parent families and adopted families (including online interactions);
- respect for the views of other people;
- respect for their own bodies and how to take care of themselves;
- respect for the bodies of other people;
- the importance of sexual activity as part of a committed, long-term, and loving relationship;
- the physical development of their bodies as they grow into adults;
- the way humans reproduce;
- relationship issues;
- sex abuse and what they should do if they are worried about any sexual matters
- the concept and importance of consent
- Some of these will be taught from EYFS and through to KS2; others are specific to older year groups, such as Year 6.
We teach sex education in line with the SRE and Health Education Guidance, and the Science Curriculum. While sex education in our school means that we give children information about sexual behaviour, we do this in the context of the school rules and school values. In particular, we teach sex education in the belief that:
- sex education should be taught in the context of stable relationships and consensual decision making;
- sex education is part of a wider social, personal, spiritual and moral education process;
- 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 should learn the importance of self-control;
- children must be aware of their right to say no and the rights of others to say no.
We teach sex education through different aspects of the curriculum. Each year group will study an SRE unit during one half term each year, normally in the Spring term or where it compliments associated learning within a theme.
- Nursery and Reception: Our Lives and Families
- Year 1: Growing and Caring for Ourselves
- Year 2: Differences
- Year 3: Valuing Difference and Keeping Safe
- Year 4: Growing Up
- Year 5: Puberty
- Year 6: Puberty, Relationships and Reproduction
We use Teaching SRE with Confidence in Primary Schools (4th ed.) to plan and resource SRE lessons. The unit will be taught by each year group’s class teacher. Teachers do their best to answer all questions with sensitivity and care.
OFSTED guidance recommends that it is important for children to learn the language associated with body parts so that children are able to talk to health professionals. Therefore, teachers will use the anatomically correct language for all body parts, including genitalia, acknowledging common terms used by some people.
Some aspects of SRE will also be covered in Science lessons, in line with the National Curriculum. In KS1 Science, children will learn about human body parts (Year 1) and to recognise growth to maturity in animals and humans (Year 2). In KS2 Science, children will learn to describe the changes experienced in puberty. Learning will be covered in explicit lessons but also incorporated into our theme-based curriculum.
In KS2, SRE lessons on puberty, pupils will be informed about changes which will take place to themselves but also to those of the opposite sex. Children may also be split into groups of boys or girls to discuss the changes which are specific to their sex with teachers and staff of the same sex.
In Year 5 & 6 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. By the end of Key Stage 2, we ensure that all pupils know how babies are born, how their bodies change during puberty, what menstruation is, and how it affects women. We always teach this with due regard for the emotional & physical development of the children.
Girls in Year 5 and 6 will be informed of the location of the Red Box, supplied by the Red Box Project Hackney, in order to access free sanitary supplies if they need them. A brief summary of menstruation will be given as a reminder. The girls will meet with different staff, of different ages and backgrounds, who they can speak with about any questions, at the time or later on. Sometimes a girl may need help earlier than peers if her physical development is ahead of her peers; parental permission will be sought on any occasion which arises where this help is needed.
Staff will take into account the different religious and cultural backgrounds of all pupils so that sensitive information is taught appropriately.
For children with SEN, appropriate provision will be made by teachers and teaching assistants to enable the children to access the content as fully as possible.
The school will ensure RSE fosters LGBT+ equality by including representations of different family types in books, displays and media, making reference to different types of relationships and through the wider curriculum.
The school will ensure RSE fosters gender equality by tackling gender stereotypes in lesson, misogyny in lessons, by staff being alert to the possibility of inequalities existing and challenging incidents as they occur in the school day. Clubs are open to all children and we are working on promoting equal attendance at clubs like football and dance.
The role of parents and carers
The school is well aware that the primary role in children’s sex education lies with parents and carers. We wish to build a positive and supporting relationship with the parents and carers of children at our school through mutual understanding, trust and co-operation. In promoting this objective, we:
- inform parents/carers about the school’s sex education policy and practice;
- answer any questions that parents/carers may have about the sex education of their child;
- take seriously any issue that parents/carers raise with teachers or governors about this policy or the arrangements for sex education in the school;
- inform parents/carers 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 body and their increasing responsibilities.
Parents/carers have the right to withdraw their child only from parts of the sex education programme that are not laid out within the science curriculum. If a parent/carer wishes their child to be withdrawn from lessons about sex education, they should discuss this with the Headteacher, and make it clear which aspects of the programme they do not wish their child to participate in.
Parents/carers wishing to withdraw their child from any part of the curriculum must make alternative provision available during these times. The statutory elements of sex education as laid out in the science curriculum are compulsory and parents do not have the right of withdrawal. These include:
- 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
- all other aspects of the national curriculum referencing the life cycle of animals including humans.
Parents/ carers do not have the right to withdraw pupils from the Relationships Education in primary school.
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. We are involved in the Red Box Project Hackney and Stoke Newington, which donates sanitary products to be taken by children who need them.
Teachers conduct sex education lessons in a sensitive manner. Children will be encouraged to discuss what they find out with family at home. Children will sometimes make comments about things which they have noticed about sex and relationships or ask probing questions. For the most part, these comments and questions are of no concern. However, if a child makes a reference to being involved, or likely to be involved in sexual activity, the teacher will take the matter 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. In these circumstances the teacher may talk with the child to clarify any comments.
If the teacher has concerns, they will draw their concerns to the attention of the safeguarding lead following usual procedures. The child protection officer will then deal with the matter in consultation with health care professionals. (See also Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy.)
The role of the Headteacher
It is the responsibility of the Headteacher to ensure that both staff and parents/carers are informed about our sex education policy, and that the policy is implemented effectively. It is also the Headteacher’s responsibility to ensure that members of staff are given sufficient training, so that they can teach effectively and handle any difficult issues with sensitivity.
The Headteacher liaises with external agencies regarding the school sex education programme, and ensures that all adults who work with children on these issues are aware of the school policy, and that they work within this framework.
The Headteacher monitors this policy on a regular basis and reports to governors, when requested, on the effectiveness of the policy.
Co-ordinating, monitoring and review
The AHT for teaching and learning is responsible for the co-ordination of RSE across the school. SLT and the strategic team (senior teachers) are responsible for ensuring that the curriculum is effectively and appropriately taught and for monitoring standards in teaching and learning within the curriculum. SLT will monitor the teaching of RSE through learning walks which will include discussions with pupils. SLT may additionally monitor through book looks.
The Curriculum and Resources Committee of the governing body monitors our sex education policy on a 2 yearly basis. This committee reports its findings and recommendations to the full governing body, as necessary, if the policy needs modification. The Curriculum and Resources Committee gives serious consideration to any comments from parents about the sex education programme, and makes a record of all such comments. Governors require the Headteacher to keep a written record, giving details of the content and delivery of the sex education programme that we teach in our school.
We give parents and pupils the chance to share their views about our RSE provision. Feedback via discussion, email, telephone or in person is recorded and passed onto the AHT for teaching and learning and taken into account when planning future RSE provision.