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Sex Education in the primary school

In the last blog we looked at policy requirements and for primary schools, part of this is outlining what if any sex education is going to be taught. Page 23 of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory guidance 2019 provides information on what is expected including the following  “the Department continues to recommend .. that all primary schools should have a sex education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. It should ensure that both boys and girls are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and – drawing on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science – how a baby is conceived and born”.

Your school will need to decide what you define as sex education so parents can make an informed decision on whether to exercise their right to withdraw. The areas which are often discussed are:-

Naming of genitalia – knowing the names of parts of the body is part of Key Stage 1 Science, however no list of words is given and therefore there is no reason why genitalia should not be included.  Teaching children this vocabulary early supports them in keeping themselves safe (which is part of the statutory requirements for relationships education) and also helps to ease embarrassment which can occur if this is left until later.

Puberty and particularly menstruation – this is part of health education and is therefore statutory

In terms of the right to withdraw parents cannot withdraw their children from National Curriculum Science or from Relationships and Health education.  They can only withdraw their child from anything which the school defines as sex education. The process for this needs to be set out in the school’s policy which should be freely available.

If you have any other questions you would like to see included please email me info@personaldevelopmentmatters.co.uk