EDUCATION FOR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS POLICY (INCLUDING SEX EDUCATION)

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1 EDUCATION FOR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS POLICY (INCLUDING SEX EDUCATION) Our Mission Statement, learning to grow in knowledge, faith and love through friendship with Jesus and Mary, underpins all that we do at St. Bernadette Catholic Primary School. 1 Introduction 1.1 This policy document embraces all that underpins the School s Aims and Objectives, the School Mission Statement in its desire to provide for our children an education which truly helps to prepare them for life. We believe that children s questions about sex ought to be answered plainly and truthfully, where possible, whenever they are asked. The best people to answer children s questions are their parents. When the information is given in the context of a happy home by loving parents it may be more acceptable than if given by someone else, however well intentioned. Our policy is delivered in partnership with our parents. In Religious Education the children will be made aware of the importance of forming loving relationships and develop an appreciation of true Christian values and an understanding of moral principles. 1.2 Parents are the prime educators of their children. Parents have a statutory right to withdraw their children from any sex education outside the National Curriculum requirements. 1.3 It recognises E.P.R. as a partnership task (home and school working together to educate the child), it reflects a growing concern on the part of governors, staff and parents at the state of the world our children will inherit, and it promotes aspects of personal development regarded as fundamental to Christian behaviour: how we treat each other, how we speak to each other, how we care for and share with each other, how we see ourselves, how we value ourselves, how we promote ourselves how we relate to family and friends, how we relate to adults and peers, how we relate to members of the wider community, the centrality of God to each of the above, the personal relationship we have/should have with Him, the example given to us by Jesus Christ. We have based our school s sex education policy on Diocesan guidance document, Education in Sexuality and Dfes guidance document Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (ref Dfes 0116/2000). In these documents, sex education is defined as learning about physical, moral and emotional development. It is about understanding the importance of marriage for family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. It is also about the teaching of sex, sexuality, and sexual health. Sex education is part of the personal, social and health education curriculum in our school. While we use sex education to inform children about sexual issues, we do this with regard to matters of morality and individual responsibility, and in a way that allows children to ask and explore moral questions. We do not use sex education as a means of promoting any form of sexual orientation. Sex education as Page 1 of 6

2 taught at St Bernadette Catholic Primary School is based upon the following underlying principles: Sexuality is a gift from God. We are made to love and be loved. What we say with our bodies should reflect what we mean in our hearts and minds. Mature Christian sexuality involves openness and commitment to others. Genuine love is creative. 2 Aims and objectives 2.1 Here at St. Bernadette School, we aim to develop in all children: ~ self respect and self esteem(the feel-good factor about one s self) ~ a loving pride in one s own family, and an active association with one s parish community ~ an understanding of true friendship ~ healthy friendships within school, tolerance with peers, and (in the case of older children) a pastoral attitude towards younger members of the school community as recognition that we all belong to the family of St. Bernadette, ~high codes of discipline arising out of respect for one another, respect for adults and respect for their school environment ~citizenship and stewardship in a world created by God ~ a Christian love for all members of the wider family of God (an understanding of Love thy Neighbour ). ~ recognition that human love takes many forms ~an understanding of how human relationships grow and deepen through friendship, love and affection ~ appreciation of the importance of the family unit (regardless of structure/composition) ~to recognise the value of parental partnership (sharing the role of bringing up a family) ~ to appreciate the demanding responsibilities of parenthood and the sacrifices which parents have to make for the sake of a new-born child ~ to value every form of life and to value themselves within this framework. Specifically on Sex education we want our children.. ~ to celebrate life as a God-given gift ~ to understand life cycles and life processes ~ to appreciate the notion that God intended new life to be the result of a union between (mature) male and female ~ (in humans) to associate love as a special feature of this union ~ to celebrate their own uniqueness ~ to know by name the various parts of the human body ~ (with Year 6 pupils) to recognise, understand and prepare for the body changes that they (and their friends) will undergo in the years ahead (puberty). We teach children about: ~the physical development of their bodies as they grow into adults; ~the way humans reproduce; ~respect for their own bodies and the importance of sexual activity as part of a committed, long-term, and loving relationship; ~the importance of family life; ~moral questions; ~relationship issues; ~respect for the views of other people; Page 2 of 6

3 ~sex abuse and what they should do if they are worried about any sexual matters. 3 Context 3.1 We teach sex education in the context of the school s aims and values framework (See Curriculum Policy values statement.) While sex education in our school means that we give children information about sexual behaviour, we do this with an awareness of the moral code and values which underpin all our work in school. In particular, we teach sex education in the belief that: ~sex education should be taught in the context of marriage and family life; ~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 need to learn the importance of self-control. As an aid to educating the child in the ways of personal development and personal relationships the school uses the following schemes of work: ~ In The Beginning.. In The Beginning.. is a wholly Catholic life education programme covering Years 1-6 and includes sex education as a key element of the programme. The scheme consists of a carefully structured series of pupil workbooks designed to be completed by the child, partly in school under the guidance of the class teacher, and partly at home alongside parents/guardians who are encouraged to involve themselves in the child s work through open discussion and assisting in the completion of each set task. It provides both teacher and parent with appropriate starting points on which to build a greater understanding of God, life and life processes. The sanctity of life, personal development and the values underpinning socially acceptable behaviour. ~ The Way, The Truth and the Life and ~ other supplementary material. Supported throughout by the Westminster Diocesan Guidelines the children will grow to recognise love (in its many forms) as central to Christian philosophy, and as the basis of all meaningful human relationships. But these schemes in isolation are not sufficient. Children will also learn on a day-to-day basis from the Christian example set by adults. In School: ~ the friendly school environment created by staff who work in the building ~ the care we have and the patience we show towards children when dealing with accidents, incidents, disputes etc. ~ the messages we give out through religious celebrations, assemblies, discussions, etc. which bring home to children the importance of the family unit, the protective love and care given by parents and guardians, and the ways children should respond to this love the way they should treat and relate to each other the hardship endured by less fortunate/third world communities and the means by which we can help tolerance, understanding and forgiveness in both work and play situations. Page 3 of 6

4 ~ the friendly interaction we promote with other schools (sporting competitions, musical and choral performances etc) and the willingness to share (and enjoy) the company of others on these occasions ~ the encouragement we give and the standards we uphold in terms of sportsmanship.fair play, accepting decisions and taking both winning and losing in the same spirit. ~ our desire to respond to the needs of others (Gambia, Cafod, Holy Childhood, Catholic Children s society, impromptu appeals) ~ the respect we have for and show to all members of our community ~ our acceptance of ( and inviting children to take up) the stewardship of a world created by God. At Home: ~ as first educators parents are expected to lay the foundations for all ~ acceptable patterns of behaviour, leading by example, and sharing with school the joint task of bringing the child through to the age of eleven with a balanced understanding of life and a healthy appreciation of the human relationships they may from in years to come. 4 Organisation 5.1 We teach sex education through different aspects of the curriculum. While we carry out the main sex education teaching in our personal, social and health education (PSCHE) and RE curriculum, we also teach some sex education through other subject areas (for example, science and PE), where we feel that they contribute significantly to a child s knowledge and understanding of his or her own body, and how it is changing and developing. 5.2 In PSCHE we teach children about relationships, and we encourage children to discuss issues. We teach about the parts of the body and how these work, and we explain to them what will happen to their bodies during puberty. For example, we tell the boys that their voices will change during puberty and we explain to the girls about menstruation. We encourage the children to ask for help if they need it. 5.3 In science lessons in both key stages, teachers inform children about puberty and how a baby is born. For this aspect of the school s teaching, we follow the guidance material in the national scheme of work for science. In Key Stage 1 we teach children about how animals, including humans, move, feed, grow and reproduce, and we also teach them about the main parts of the body. Children learn to appreciate the differences between people and how to show respect for each other. In Key Stage 2 we teach about life processes and the main stages of the human life cycle in greater depth. 5.4 In Year 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. Teachers do their best to answer all questions with sensitivity and care. By the end of Key Stage 2, we ensure that both boys and girls 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 development of the children (as stated earlier in this policy). Page 4 of 6

5 5.5 We arrange a meeting for all parents and carers of children in Year 6 to discuss this particular programme of lessons, to explain what the issues are and how they are taught, and to see the materials the school uses in its teaching. 6 The role of parents 6.1 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 of children at our school through mutual understanding, trust and co-operation. In promoting this objective we: ~inform parents about the school s sex education policy and practice; ~answer any questions that parents may have about the sex education of their child; ~take seriously any issue that parents raise with teachers or governors about this policy or the arrangements for sex education in the school; ~encourage parents to be involved in reviewing the school policy and making modifications to it as necessary; ~inform parents 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. 6.2 Parents have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the sex education programme that we teach in our school. If a parent wishes their child to be withdrawn from sex education lessons, 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. The school always complies with the wishes of parents in this regard. 7 The role of other members of the community 7.1 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. Other people that we call on include local clergy, social workers and youth workers. 8 Confidentiality 8.1 Teachers conduct sex education lessons in a sensitive manner and in confidence. However, if a child makes a reference to being involved, or likely to be involved in sexual activity, then 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 will talk to the child as a matter of urgency. If the teacher has concerns, they will draw their concerns to the attention of the headteacher. The headteacher will then deal with the matter in consultation with health care professionals.(see also Child Protection Policy.) 9 The role of the headteacher 9.1 It is the responsibility of the headteacher to ensure that both staff and parents are informed about our sex education policy, and that the policy is implemented effectively. It is also the headteacher s responsibility to ensure that Page 5 of 6

6 members of staff are given sufficient training, so that they can teach effectively and handle any difficult issues with sensitivity. 9.2 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. 9.3 The headteacher monitors this policy on a regular basis and reports to governors, when requested, on the effectiveness of the policy. 10 Monitoring and review 10.1 The Curriculum Committee of the governing body monitors our sex education policy on an annual basis. This committee reports its findings and recommendations to the full governing body, as necessary, if the policy needs modification. The Curriculum 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. This policy is reviewed annually. Page 6 of 6

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