Sex and Relationships Education Policy

This policy has been drawn up according to guidance provided by the National Healthy School Standard and has regard to Sex and Relationships Education Guidance 2000 (DfEE).

As recommended by the DfE review of PSHE education (March 2013) this policy takes account of existing DfE guidance on Sex and Relationships education, preventing and tackling bullying, safeguarding and equality.

Description of setting

Sheffield High School is an independent school (approximately 1000 on roll) for girls (4-18) situated in a residential area of Sheffield. Most pupils come from a professional or business background and about one in six are from ethnic minority backgrounds, mainly Asian. Approximately 20% of girls require special provision and their requirements are listed in the special needs register or individual medical plans. The Special Needs register is compiled and updated by the Assistant Head: Pastoral Care in the senior school and the SENCO in the junior school. The school nurse produces medical plans for pupils throughout the whole school. Both the Special Needs register and medical plans are available to all teaching staff.

Formulation of Policy

The SRE working party comprised Head of PSHE, Head of Pastoral Care, a teacher of PSHE, a Y7 tutor, a member of the science department, the science co-ordinator from the Junior School and representatives from DAT. The governing body, the school nurse and a selection of pupils also had the opportunity to comment on the policy whilst in its draft form.

The SRE policy has been developed through PSHE department meetings (in consultation with other personnel listed above) using existing school SRE guidelines and The Barnsley Healthy School Scheme: Sex and Relationships Education Guidance. The policy was drawn up in summer 2005 and is reviewed annually at the end of the summer term by representatives from pastoral board/SMT.

Aims and Objectives

“Effective sex and relationship education is essential if young people are to make responsible and well-informed decisions about their lives.” (Sex and Relationship Education Guidance DfEE July 2000)

The main objective is to help and support young people through their emotional, physical and moral development, thereby improving young people’s sexual health and reducing the negative consequences of sexual activity.

A successful SRE programme is firmly embedded in PSHE so that it is able to help young people learn to respect themselves and others, and move with confidence from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood.

The different elements of SRE, which are interdependent, should promote this progression as knowledge alone will not promote sexual and emotional health and well-being. Knowledge must be taught alongside a proper consideration of values, attitudes and beliefs which in turn is closely related to the development of personal and social skills and the acquisition and understanding of accurate and unbiased information.

At Sheffield High School a clear programme of SRE which deals with issues beyond the statutory science curriculum is delivered within PSHE by class teachers in the junior department and teachers of PSHE (Y7-Y11) with the assistance of the school nurse and in-house and outside agencies such as peer educators and Medsex (Medical students from Sheffield University). SRE also extends into the 6th form through the tutorial programme.

The SRE policy aims to reinforce the aims of the school which are to enable pupils to achieve their full potential, academically and personally, in a happy and challenging environment.

curriculum is delivered within PSHE by class teachers in the junior department and teachers of PSHE (Y7-Y11) with the assistance of the school nurse and in-house and outside agencies such as peer educators and Medsex (Medical students from Sheffield University). SRE also extends into the 6th form through the tutorial programme.

The SRE policy aims to reinforce the aims of the school which are to enable pupils to achieve their full potential, academically and personally, in a happy and challenging environment.

SRE aims:

  • To provide accurate information about, and increase understanding of sex related issues.
  • To dispel myths surrounding sex related issues.
  • To explore a range of attitudes around sex related issues and help pupils to reach their own informed opinions.
  • To promote core values of mutual respect, non-violence, negotiation and care
  • To develop skills in communication, risk assessment, decision making, assertiveness, conflict management, seeking advice and helping others.

Moral and Values Framework

“Sex and Relationships Education is a lifelong learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships and sexual health. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes.”

It has 3 main elements:

Attitudes and Values

  • Learning the importance of values
  • Learning the value of family life, marriage, and stable, loving relationships for the nurture of children
  • Learning the value of respect, love and care
  • Exploring, considering and understanding moral dilemmas
  • Developing critical thinking as a part of decision-making.

Personal and Social Skills

  • Learning to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively
  • Developing self-respect and empathy for others
  • Learning to make choices based on an understanding of difference and with an absence of prejudice
  • Developing an appreciation of the consequences of choices made
  • Managing conflict
  • Learning how to recognise and avoid exploitation and abuse.
  • Promote skills in reviewing the impact and influence of the media and pornography.
  • Develop the skills to stay safe in an increasingly sexualised society.
  • Develop skills to raise self-esteem and assertiveness in order to resist pressure and coercion in terms of sexual relationships.
  • Build on internet safety awareness and skills to stay safe online in using mobile technology.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Learning and understanding physical development at appropriate stages
  • Learning to use appropriate language to describe body parts and functions
  • Understanding human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships
  • Learning about contraception and STI’s, and the range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services
  • Learning the reasons for and the benefits of delaying sexual activity
  • The avoidance of unplanned pregnancy
  • Understanding of the law as it relates to pornography

Content of Sex and Relationship Education programme

The SRE policy seeks to ensure pupils acquire the skills and knowledge to make informed choices about their personal and sexual relationships based on equality and mutual respect so that they can enjoy their sexuality without harm.

In keeping with the findings of best practice research, SRE at Sheffield High School is delivered to all age groups (4-post 16) through a spiral curriculum that is embedded in a whole school framework for PSHE. As a result, topics are visited and re-visited throughout a pupil’s school life, ensuring that knowledge, work on attitudes, values and the acquisition of skills is delivered as appropriate to pupils’ developmental stage and changing needs.

At Primary level-

  • The SRE programme is “tailored to the age and physical and emotional maturity of the children.”
  • Pupils are encouraged to develop confidence in talking, listening and thinking about feelings and relationships.
  • Pupils are taught about personal responsibility, how “to say no”, and how to talk to other people about situations with which they feel uncomfortable.
  • Pupils are taught to name parts of the body and describe how bodies work.
  • Pupils are taught about puberty in both boys and girls and physical and emotional changes that occur during this stage of their lives
  • All children (including those who develop earlier than average) are taught about puberty before they experience the onset of physical changes.

In Year 2, pupils are taught:

  • The difference between male and female, feelings and life cycles.
  • Growth and change from the point of view of the child, considering themselves as babies and thinking about their future as adults
  • The growth of the foetus during pregnancy, life cycles, growth and change and relationships.

In Year 5, pupils are taught:

  • Body changes related to puberty.
  • When changes are likely to happen and what issues may cause anxiety as well as how such anxieties may be addressed.

At Secondary level-

  • Sex and Relationships education is set within a broader base of self-esteem and responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.
  • Pupils are taught about personal responsibility, how “to say no”, and how to talk to other people about situations with which they feel uncomfortable.
  • Teaching is focused on relationships, love and care, and the responsibilities of parenthood, as well as sexual relationships.
  • Teaching is about boys as well as girls.
  • Building self-esteem is fundamental.
  • SRE examines the taking on of responsibility, assessing risk and the consequences of one’s actions in relation to sexual activity and parenthood.
  • SRE provides young people with information about different types of contraceptives, safer sexual practices and how to access local sources of further advice and treatment.
  • Y12 students are used as peer educators in Y8 and Y5 sessions
  • SRE provides young people with a clear understanding of the arguments for delaying sexual activity and resisting pressure.
  • SRE explores links with issues of peer pressure and other risk-taking behaviour, such as drugs, smoking and alcohol.
  • Young people learn how the law applies to sexual relationships.
  • SRE aims to promote young people’s skills in reviewing the impact and influence of the media and pornography whilst helping them to stay safe in an increasingly sexualised society.

Organisation of SRE

The head of PSHE is responsible for co-ordinating SRE which is delivered through circle time, form time, science and PSHE lessons.

When delivering SRE, teachers recognise that young people vary in attitudes, values, experience, levels of maturity, home environments and religious/cultural backgrounds. SRE educators use a range of strategies to bring about effective learning, including establishing ground rules (agreed by pupils themselves), using “distancing” techniques (role-plays, games and videos), and making use of discussion, project learning and encouraging reflection.

All groups are single sex (girls).

All resources used are listed in the PSHE departmental handbook.

SRE sessions are led by class or science teachers in the junior department and teachers of science, PSHE and tutors (Y7-Y13), with the assistance of the school nurse and outside speakers in the senior school.

Liaison with the junior department is carried out through meetings between the PHSE co-ordinator and teacher in charge of science in the junior school and the Head of PSHE in the senior school. The Head of PSHE also liaises with the Head of Y7 who reports back when she goes on feeder school visits.

The SRE programme is evaluated annually by both teaching staff and students. A number of techniques (see section below) are used to ensure the programme remains relevant and responsive to the needs of the students as well as enabling staff training needs to be identified.

Specific Issues Statements

Many parents/carers recognise that their own sex education was inadequate and most support the school in its provision of SRE. A letter is sent out to inform parents/carers of their right to withdraw their children from SRE and when it is being delivered. Whilst being aware of the right to withdraw children, we aim to deliver SRE in a way that is welcomed and appreciated by all parents/carers so there should be no reason for withdrawing children. We aim to keep parents/carers fully informed about planned topics for study and teaching materials through access to our annually reviewed SRE policy, the PSHE Education Programmes of Study (available on PSHE Portal Page) and our programme of Teen Issues evenings.

Child Protection issues

The school has fully comprehensive safeguarding strategies in place.

Issues of Confidentiality

Issues of confidentiality are covered in the safeguarding code of practice.

Answering difficult questions

A variety of techniques are used to help young people to talk freely and openly when discussing sex-related issues. The establishment of ground rules (group agreement) by the pupils themselves creates an appropriate atmosphere in which teacher and pupils feel comfortable so that even sensitive and/or potentially embarrassing issues can be considered.

Use of Visitors

The use of visitors from external agencies is sometimes invaluable in the delivery of SRE. E.g. Sexpression. The checklist for using visitors (from SRE Guidance: Barnsley Healthy School Scheme) is used to ensure the visit meets the needs of the pupils, the teacher, the visitor and the school itself. Prior to visits, visitors are also talked through basic information regarding ways of dealing with children (see Safeguarding code of practice).

Selection of SRE resources

The PSHE department constantly seeks to update resources (DVDs, card games, photographs, posters, newspaper articles etc…) and is careful to select and use resources free from stereotyping, bias and prejudice. It is vital that resources are suitable for the age and experience of pupils, especially when materials are not specifically produced for educational purposes.

Procedures for monitoring and evaluation

SRE is regularly evaluated, progress is monitored and experiences shared. This process involves staff and students to ensure that the programme is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and enables staff training needs to be identified. A number of techniques are used in the evaluation process:

  • Observation of students as they work
  • Quizzes to ascertain levels of knowledge
  • Questionnaires to measure attitudes
  • Role-plays
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Individual recall
  • Success celebrated through the awarding of effort stars.
  • Completion of Pupils’ Individual Learning Records at KS3
  • Review through PSHE committee at KS4

Dissemination of the SRE policy

The SRE policy is available to all parents/carers/ guardians on request.

Staff training

The SRE policy is available to all staff in the staff handbook which is updated annually.

Parents’ meetings

The SRE policy is available on request and is introduced to parents/carers/guardians at the Y7 welcome evening in the senior school and through similar events for the parents/carers/guardians of pupils in the junior school.