Sex education policy
Adopted: March 2019
Legislation set in place by successive Education Acts indicates that it is the responsibility of the academy to ensure that all pupils are offered the opportunity of receiving a comprehensive, well-planned programme of sex and relationships education during their school careers in fulfilment of the requirement of section 1 of the Education Reform Act 1988 that the school curriculum should be one which:
- “Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society; and
- Prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life."
From September 1994, schools introducing changes provided by section 241 of the Education Act 1993 have the following legal powers and duties:
- Governing bodies must make a written statement of their policy on sex and relationships education available to parents.
- Sex and relationships education (including education about abortion, HIV and Aids, and other sexually transmitted infections) must be provided for all registered pupils.
- Sex and relationships education must be provided in such a manner as to encourage young people to have regard to moral considerations and the value of family life.
East Point Academy acknowledges its legal responsibilities and, in aiming to meet the requirements of Section 241 of the Education Act 1993, considers that appropriate sex and relationships education must be an important element in the curriculum of the academy in preparing pupils for adult life.
When sex and relationships education is taught as part of the national curriculum science course, it is treated in a factual way and deals with biological details of the reproductive system.
In SMSC (social, moral, spiritual and cultural), however, sex and relationships education is set in a moral framework, also considering emotional and psychological aspects and stressing the importance of behaving in a socially responsible way.
The academy also recognises that parents are the key figures in helping their children cope with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up and in preparing them for the challenges and responsibilities which sexual development brings. Sex and relationships education at the academy aims to be complimentary and supportive of the role of parents but the academy also recognises that some pupils may receive little or no “sex education" from their home. The academy needs to be responsive to this.
The aims of sex and relationships education are:
Attitudes and values
- Learning the importance of values, individual conscience and moral choices;
- Learning the value of family life, stable and loving relationships, and marriage;
- Learning about the nurture of children;
- Learning the value of respect, love and care;
- Exploring, considering and understanding moral dilemmas;
- Developing critical thinking as part of decision making;
- Challenging myths, misconceptions and false assumptions about normal behaviour.
Personal and social skills
- Learning to manage emotions and relationships confidentially and sensitively;
- Developing self-respect and empathy for others;
- Learning to make choices with an absence of prejudice;
- Developing an appreciation of the consequences of choices made;
- Managing conflict;
- Empowering students with the skills to be able to avoid inappropriate pressures or advances (both as exploited or exploiter);
- The risk and consequence of social media and how people can be portrayed.
Knowledge and understanding
- Learning and understanding physical development at appropriate stages;
- Understanding how the use of fashion can lead to inappropriate pressures;
- Understanding human sexuality, reproduction, sexual health, emotions and relationships;
- Learning about contraception and the range of local and national sexual health advice, contraception and support services;
- Learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity, and the benefits to be gained from such a delay;
- The avoidance of unplanned pregnancy and the issues relating to teenage pregnancy.
The aim of sex and relationships education is to provide balanced and factual information about human reproduction, together with consideration of the broader emotional, ethical, religious, and moral dimensions of sexual health. Our programme aims to prepare students for an adult life in which they can:
- Develop positive values and a moral framework that will guide their decisions, judgements and behaviour; have the confidence and self-esteem to value themselves and others and respect for individual conscience and the skills to judge what kind of relationships they want.
- Understand the consequences of their actions and behave responsibly within sexual and pastoral relationships.
- Avoid being exploited or exploiting others or being pressured into unwanted or unprotected sex.
- Communicate effectively by developing appropriate terminology for sex and relationship issues.
- Develop awareness of their sexuality and understand human sexuality; challenge sexism and prejudice, and promote equality and diversity.
- Understand the arguments for delaying sexual activity.
- Understand the physical benefits of having protected sex.
- Have sufficient information and skills to protect themselves and, where they have one, their partner from uninvited/unwanted conception and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
- Be aware of sources of help and acquire the skills and confidence to access confidential health advice, support and treatment if necessary.
- Know how the law applies to sexual relationships.
The above aims should take account of and be appropriate to the age and stage of development of the pupil.
Organisation of sex and relationships education in the academy
Teacher with responsibility for planning:
- Head of sociology and SMSC
Delivery of the programme:
- KS3: SMSC programme
- Science lessons in KS3 and KS4
- ICT lessons
- Tutorial programme
- Drop-down days at both key stages
- Academy-based INSET
- Community care services
- NHS Health Authority Trust and their support staff for CPD in the academy
Methodology and approach:
- Theatre group presentations
- Group work
- Role play
- Visiting speakers
- Activity sheets
Information should be presented in a factual, unbiased way and controversial issues handled with sensitivity so that pupils are given information enabling them to make healthy decisions.
- Resources used and criteria for selection: video, worksheets, and information leaflets from the advisory services.
- The Head of Sociology/SMSC will evaluate the materials used, the delivery strategies and the effectiveness of the sex education programme after each unit that is delivered and amend the programme accordingly.
- Specific classroom arrangements: Pupils are taught in their mixed ability groups although consideration will be given to delivery in single sex groups if considered necessary.
Issues of confidentiality
It is important to distinguish between the academy's function of providing education generally about sexual matters and, on the other, counselling and advice to individual pupils on these issues, particularly if it relates to their own sexual behaviour.
The Sex Education 5/94 Circular states that:
“A teacher approached by an individual pupil for advice on contraception or other aspects of sexual behaviour should, wherever possible, encourage the pupil to seek advice from his/her parents, and if appropriate, from the relevant health service professional. Where the circumstances are such as to lead the teacher to believe that the pupil has embarked upon, or is contemplating, a course of conduct which is likely to place him/her at moral or physical risk or in breach of the law, the teacher has the general responsibility to ensure that the pupil is aware of the implications and urged to seek advice. In such circumstances the teacher should inform the headteacher. The headteacher should arrange for the pupil to be counselled if appropriate and, where the pupil is under age, for the parents to be made aware, preferably by the pupil himself/herself. Whether the specialist support services or the local education authority should be involved will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and the professional judgement of the staff." (See paragraph 40).
In practice, if pupils ask for individual advice, teachers:
- Should encourage pupils to discuss their concerns with their parents;
- Should tell pupils where to seek confidential advice and information as appropriate;
- Can themselves give advice to pupils who have not been withdrawn from sex education, within the boundaries of their own professional role;
- Should not promise pupils confidentiality;
- Should use discretion to keep disclosures made to them confidential, if, in the teacher's professional judgement, this is in the pupil's best interest and does not contravene the Academy safeguarding and child protection procedures and practices; and
- Are not obliged to break confidentiality: they can only be instructed by the Principal to do so.
Key Stage 3
By the end of Key Stage 3 students will be able to:
- Manage challenging relationships.
- Recognise risk of personal safety in sexual behaviour and be able to make safe decisions.
- Ask for help and support.
- Explain the relationship between their self-esteem and how they see themselves.
- Develop skills of assertiveness in order to resist peer pressure and stereotyping.
- See the complexity of moral, social and sexual preferences in relationships.
- Develop good interpersonal skills to sustain existing relationships as they grow and change, and to help them make new relationships.
- Be tolerant of the diversity of personal, social and sexual preferences in relationships.
- Develop sympathy with the core values of family life in all its variety of forms.
- Recognise the need for commitment, trust and love in meaningful relationships which may manifest themselves in a variety of forms, including marriage.
- Recognise the stages of emotions in relation to loss and change caused by divorce, separation and new family members and how to manage their feelings positively.
Students will know and understand:
- That fertilisation in humans is the fusion of a male and female cell.
- The physical and emotional changes that take place during puberty.
- About the human reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertilisation.
- How the foetus develops in the uterus.
- How the media and social media influence understanding and attitude towards sexual health.
- How good relationships can promote mental wellbeing.
- The law relating to the sexual behaviour of young people.
- Where to go for help and advice such as the GUM clinic.
Students will have considered:
- The benefits of sexual behaviour within a committed relationship.
- How they see themselves affects their self-confidence and behaviour.
- The importance of respecting differences in relation to gender and sexuality.
- How it feels to be discriminated against.
- The issues relating to early sexual activity.
- The unacceptability of prejudice and homophobic bullying.
- What rights and responsibilities mean in a relationship.
See appendix A for subject-by-subject curriculum.
Key Stage 4
By the end of Key Stage 4 students will be able to:
- Recognise the influences and pressures around sexual behaviour and respond appropriately and confidently seek medical advice.
- Manage emotions associated with changing relationships with parents and friends.
- See both sides of arguments and express and justify personal opinion.
- Have the determination to stand up for their beliefs and values.
- Make informed choices about their lifestyle which promote personal wellbeing.
- Have the confidence to assert themselves and challenge inappropriate behaviour.
- Develop qualities of empathy and sympathy and the ability to respond emotionally to the range and depth of feelings within close relationships.
- Work co-operatively with a range of people who are different from themselves.
Students will know and understand:
- The way in which hormone control occurs, including the effects of sex hormones, some medical uses of hormones, including the control and promotion of fertility.
- How sex is determined in humans.
- How HIV and other sexually transmitted infections affect the body.
- Self-image and sexual identity.
- The risks if early sexual activity and the links to alcohol.
- How the different forms of contraception work and where to get advice.
- The law in relation to sexual activity for young people and adults.
- How their own identity is influenced by their personal values and those of their family and society.
- How to respond appropriately within a range of social relationships.
- How to access agencies which support relationships on crisis.
- The qualities of good parenting and its value to family life.
- The benefits of marriage or a stable partnership in raising children.
- The way different forms of relationship, including marriage, depend on maturity and commitment.
Students will have considered;
- Their developing sense of sexual identity and how to feel confident and comfortable with it.
- How personal, family and social value influence behaviour.
- The arguments around moral issues such as abortion, contraception and the age of consent.
- The individual contributions made by partners in a sustained relationship and how these can be of benefit to both.
- The impact of having children on their lives and the lives of others.
See appendix A for subject-by-subject curriculum.
Parental withdrawal from sex and relationships education
Parents have a right to withdraw their children from sex and relationships education (excluding that contained in the compulsory national curriculum and discussion of sexual matters which arises incidentally in lessons outside the planned sex education programme).
Subject to the Principal's power to direct, teachers are not obliged to inform parents where pupils seek individual advice about sexual matters, but can maintain confidentiality if, in their professional judgement, this would be in the child's best interest.
Merely informing a child of where he/she can seek confidential advice is not sex education. Teachers can give such information to children who have been withdrawn.
Parents requesting withdrawal will be invited to discuss their concerns with the head of sociology/SMSC or a senior member of staff, though there is no obligation for them to do so. It is hoped that, in most cases, explanation or a minor modification may assure them that the programme is suitable for their children.
Parents still wishing to withdraw their children should make this request in writing to the Principal, following which alternative arrangements may be made for the teaching or supervision of them.
Dialogue between the school and parents will remain open and parents will be informed of future sex and relationships education lessons so that they may revoke their request at a later date should they wish to do so.
Monitoring, evaluation and review
The vice principal (academy standards) will report on the policy to the Principal as appropriate.
The Principal will report to the governors on any relevant aspects of the working of the policy as appropriate.
The governing body will review the policy in the first instance in two years’ time.