Health, Relationships and Sex Education
Health, Relationships and Sex Education Policy
Plymouth Grove Primary School is a larger than average size 3-11 primary school situated in Ardwick, Manchester. As a rights respecting school, the articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) are at the heart of every decision made. The best interests of our children are the top priority in all decisions and actions. We serve a rich and diverse community and we endeavour to make sure that our health, relationships, and sex education meets the needs of all children within our school.
The health, relationships and sex education curriculum can be divided into two parts; the statutory teaching of health and relationships education, from which parents cannot withdraw their child, and the non-statutory teaching of sex education, from which parents retain the right to withdraw.
Health education is the teaching of the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. Relationships education is the teaching of the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. Sex education is the teaching of the fundamentals of human reproduction.
Health, relationships and sex education is not concerned with the promotion of any sexual orientation or sexual activity.
National Curriculum: Science - Sex Education (statutory)
The formal sex and relationships education (SRE) elements of the National Curriculum for Science across all key stages are mandatory for all pupils of primary and secondary age, and cover the biological aspects of SRE.
National Curriculum: PSHE - Health Education and Relationships Education (statutory) and Sex Education (non-statutory)
It is widely recognised that sex education should be more than solely science if it is to meet children’s needs and role within modern society. The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory for all pupils receiving secondary education. It notes that in order to embrace the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life, pupils need knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships and to build their self-efficacy. Pupils can also put this knowledge into practice as they develop the capacity to make sound decisions when facing risks, challenges and new contexts within their lives. These subjects can support young people to develop resilience, to know how and when to ask for help, and to know where to access support.
Additional Relevant Legislation
Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act is a single, consolidated source of discrimination law. It simplifies the law and it extends protection from discrimination in some areas. Under the provisions of the Equality Act, schools must not unlawfully discriminate against pupils because of their age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership, or sexual orientation (collectively known as the protected characteristics). Schools must also make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantage and be mindful of the SEND Code of Practice when planning for these subjects.
Section 28 (Repealed November 2004)
This Act was repealed in November 2004. All schools and teachers must deal openly and honestly with issues related to homophobic bullying, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender discrimination.
Under the new OFSTED framework (2019), the 'personal development' judgement evaluates schools’ intent to provide for the personal development of all pupils, and the quality with which they implement this work. This includes developing pupils’ understanding of responsible citizenship, fundamental British values, mental and physical health, healthy relationships and personal safety. Schools are expected to promote understanding and tolerance, and create an inclusive learning environment for all. It also includes inspection of the provision for the children’s SMSC development - spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
All children have universal, unconditional, inherent, indivisible and inalienable rights, as set out under the UNCRC (1989). These rights include: the universal nature of rights, the right to life and protection from harm, the right to an education, the right to healthcare, the right to reliable information, the right to expression and the right to personal development.
Ethos and Values
The teaching of health, relationships and sex education will reflect the values of our school. Every pupil should be offered their full entitlement to health, relationships and sex education regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation. Our values reflect that in our multi-cultural, multi-faith and diverse society, it is important that health, relationships and sex education responds to the range of needs and experiences of all children within the school and is sensitive to the needs of all group. Teaching will promote children’s self esteem, emotional wellbeing and resilience, and help them to form and maintain worthwhile and positive relationships. They will learn respect for themselves and for others in our local, national and global communities.
Aims and Objectives
- In line with the statutory guidance from the government and recommendations from the PSHE Association, Plymouth Grove’s teaching of health, relationships and sex education will inform children and young people about issues including relationships, emotions, sex, sexuality and sexual health. It will enable them to develop personal and social skills, and a positive attitude to sexual health and wellbeing.
- The school’s health, relationships and sex education curriculum will:
- Provide information which is relevant and appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils
- Equip children and young people with information, skills and values to understand and to be able to cope with the physical and emotional changes that happen during puberty
- Prepare children for the physical and emotional changes of puberty and the transition into adulthood
- Encourage the capacity to make decisions in managing relationships so that choices are informed, responsible, appropriate and minimise any risks to the individual
- Promote the development of communication and social skills
- Develop strategies for pupils to raise their self esteem, learn self-regulation skills and be accountable for their own behaviour
- Encourage the exploration and clarification of values held by different cultures and groups, and the development of positive attitudes
- Encourage honesty and respect in all relationships and nurture sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
- Encourage respect and understanding of the universal rights of the child, as articulated in the UNCRC
- Prepare pupils adequately for adult life: its decisions, responsibilities, experiences and opportunities, and to allow pupils to develop fully as emotional mature human beings
Policy, Leadership and Management
Governors, in consultation with the head teacher, have a statutory responsibility for health, relationships and sex education within our school. The Governing body, together with the head teacher, senior leadership team and PSHE coordinators, will involve parents, pupils, staff, health professionals and other agencies to ensure that the school’s curriculum addresses the needs of the community, education, statutory guidance, health priorities and the needs of the pupils themselves.
An overview curriculum map can be found in Appendix A of this document. The health, relationships and sex education curriculum can be divided into two parts; the statutory teaching of health and relationships education, from which parents cannot withdraw their child, and the non-statutory teaching of sex education, from which parents retain the right to withdraw.
Health Education - Statutory
The focus in primary school is on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. Children should know that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health. A firm foundation in the benefits and characteristics of good health and wellbeing will enable teachers to talk about isolation, loneliness, unhappiness, bullying and the negative impact of poor health and wellbeing.
Pupils should know
• that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way
as physical health.
• that there is a normal range of emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness,
anger, fear, surprise, nervousness) and scale of emotions that all
humans experience in relation to different experiences and
• how to recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a
varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and
• how to judge whether what they are feeling and how they are
behaving is appropriate and proportionate.
• the benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community
participation, voluntary and service-based activity on mental
wellbeing and happiness.
• simple self-care techniques, including the importance of rest, time
spent with friends and family and the benefits of hobbies and
• isolation and loneliness can affect children and that it is very
important for children to discuss their feelings with an adult and seek
• that bullying (including cyberbullying) has a negative and often
lasting impact on mental wellbeing.
• where and how to seek support (including recognising the triggers
for seeking support), including whom in school they should speak to
if they are worried about their own or someone else’s mental
wellbeing or ability to control their emotions (including issues arising
• that it is common for people to experience mental ill health. For many
people who do, the problems can be resolved if the right support is
made available, especially if accessed early enough.
Pupils should know
• that for most people the internet is an integral part of life and has
• about the benefits of rationing time spent online, the risks of
excessive time spent on electronic devices and the impact of
positive and negative content online on their own and others’ mental
and physical wellbeing.
• how to consider the effect of their online actions on others and know
how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online and the
importance of keeping personal information private.
• why social media, some computer games and online gaming, for
example, are age restricted.
• that the internet can also be a negative place where online abuse,
trolling, bullying and harassment can take place, which can have a
negative impact on mental health.
• how to be a discerning consumer of information online including
understanding that information, including that from search engines,
is ranked, selected and targeted.
• where and how to report concerns and get support with issues
Pupils should know
• the characteristics and mental and physical benefits of an active
• the importance of building regular exercise into daily and weekly
routines and how to achieve this; for example walking or cycling to
school, a daily active mile or other forms of regular, vigorous
• the risks associated with an inactive lifestyle (including obesity).
• how and when to seek support including which adults to speak to in
school if they are worried about their health.
Pupils should know
• what constitutes a healthy diet (including understanding calories and
other nutritional content).
• the principles of planning and preparing a range of healthy meals.
• the characteristics of a poor diet and risks associated with unhealthy
eating (including, for example, obesity and tooth decay) and other
behaviours (e.g. the impact of alcohol on diet or health).
Pupils should know
• the facts about legal and illegal harmful substances and associated
risks, including smoking, alcohol use and drug-taking.
• how to recognise early signs of physical illness, such as weight loss,
or unexplained changes to the body.
• about safe and unsafe exposure to the sun, and how to reduce the
risk of sun damage, including skin cancer.
• the importance of sufficient good quality sleep for good health and
that a lack of sleep can affect weight, mood and ability to learn.
• about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene and dental
flossing, including regular check-ups at the dentist.
• about personal hygiene and germs including bacteria, viruses, how
they are spread and treated, and the importance of handwashing.
• the facts and science relating to allergies, immunisation and
Pupils should know:
• how to make a clear and efficient call to emergency services if
• concepts of basic first-aid, for example dealing with common
injuries, including head injuries.
Pupils should know:
• key facts about puberty and the changing adolescent body,
particularly from age 9 through to age 11, including physical and
• about menstrual wellbeing including the key facts about the
Relationships Education - Statutory
The focus in primary school is on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. Relationships education also creates an opportunity to enable pupils to be taught about positive emotional and mental wellbeing, including how friendships can support mental wellbeing.
care for me
Pupils should know
• that families are important for children growing up because they
can give love, security and stability.
• the characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each
other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for
children and other family members, the importance of spending
time together and sharing each other’s lives.
• that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world,
sometimes look different from their family, but that they should
respect those differences and know that other children’s families
are also characterised by love and care.
• that stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types,
are at the heart of happy families, and are important for children’s
security as they grow up.
• that marriage represents a formal and legally recognised
commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be
• how to recognise if family relationships are making them feel
unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if
Pupils should know
• how important friendships are in making us feel happy and secure,
and how people choose and make friends.
• the characteristics of friendships, including mutual respect,
truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, trust,
sharing interests and experiences and support with problems and
• that healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards
others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded.
• that most friendships have ups and downs, and that these can
often be worked through so that the friendship is repaired or even
strengthened, and that resorting to violence is never right.
• how to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge
when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable,
managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to
seek help or advice from others, if needed.
Pupils should know
• the importance of respecting others, even when they are very
different from them (for example, physically, in character,
personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have
different preferences or beliefs.
• practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to
improve or support respectful relationships.
• the conventions of courtesy and manners.
• the importance of self-respect and how this links to their own
• that in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated
with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due
respect to others, including those in positions of authority.
• about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the
impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily
reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help.
• what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative
• the importance of permission-seeking and giving in relationships
with friends, peers and adults.
Pupils should know
• that people sometimes behave differently online, including by
pretending to be someone they are not.
• that the same principles apply to online relationships as to face-to-
face relationships, including the importance of respect for others
online including when we are anonymous.
• the rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise
risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them.
• how to critically consider their online friendships and sources of
information including awareness of the risks associated with
people they have never met.
• how information and data is shared and used online.
Pupils should know
• what sorts of boundaries are appropriate in friendships with peers
and others (including in a digital context).
• about the concept of privacy and the implications of it for both
children and adults; including that it is not always right to keep
secrets if they relate to being safe.
• that each person’s body belongs to them, and the differences
between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and
• how to respond safely and appropriately to adults they may
encounter (in all contexts, including online) whom they do not
• how to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe or feeling
bad about any adult.
• how to ask for advice or help for themselves or others, and to
keep trying until they are heard.
• how to report concerns or abuse, and the vocabulary and
confidence needed to do so.
• where to get advice e.g. family, school and/or other sources.
Sex Education - Non-Statutory
The school uses the Healthy Schools curriculum devised by Manchester PCT / Manchester Health Professionals, alongside guidance from the PSHE Association. The content covers all of the statutory requirements for sex education, required as part of the National Curriculum for Science, and is delivered to all children from years 1-6. Alongside this the school recognises that sex education should be more than solely science if it is to meet children’s needs. Detailed below are sections taken directly from the updated Science Curriculum Statutory (2014). The sections detailed are those that specifically mention sex education:
Key Stage 1
Children should learn to:
- Identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense.
- Notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults.
Key Stage 2
Children should learn to:
- Describe the changes as humans develop to old age.
- Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.
- Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.
Health, relationships and sex education will be delivered primarily through discrete weekly PSHE lessons, but elements of the curriculum will also be taught through the rest of the curriculum, notably Science, Computing, PE and Maths lessons. Teachers will be responsible for planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum, following the long-term curriculum map as created by the PSHE leads. This long-term map (Appendix A) closely follows the NHS Healthy Schools Growing and Changing Together curriculum, and the recommendations of the PSHE Association. This content will be carefully planned and delivered by members of staff working together with health professionals, notably our school nurse and a Healthy Schools RSE specialist. Our Children and Families Team are also available to support the delivery of the curriculum.
Equality of access to the curriculum
Health, relationships and sex education will be provided to all children within our school. Children with SEND will be supported to access health, relationships and sex education through high-quality, teacher-led quality first teaching, following the guidance of the SEND code of practice. Teaching will be differentiated and personalised to suit their individual context.
The school will also be mindful that some pupils are more vulnerable to exploitation,
bullying and other issues due to the nature of their SEND. Relationships education and
RSE can also be particularly important subjects for some pupils; for example those with
SEMH (social, emotional and mental health) needs or learning disabilities. Such factors will
be taken into consideration in designing and teaching these subjects.
The withdrawal process from sex education for children with SEND will be the same, however there may be exceptional circumstances where the head teacher may want to take a pupil’s specific needs arising from their SEND into account when making this decision.
Dealing with difficult questions
Within school, there are clear parameters of what is appropriate and inappropriate to answer as a question. These are agreed with governors, staff and parents prior to delivery. There are specific ground rules for this work which clarify boundaries for children and adults:
- It is explicit that personal questions should not be asked, and that teachers will acknowledge if they do not know the answer to a question.
- We use the “Bubble Box” as a technique to filter appropriate and inappropriate questions.
- Questions too explicit or age inappropriate for a whole class setting will be dealt with later on an individual basis, with the support of the Children and Families Team as required.
- If a question arises that prompts a staff member to have a safeguarding concern regarding an individual child or family, then the school’s reporting procedures will be followed.
- Pupils know that they should not give out personal information in class but speak to someone they trust after the lesson, e.g. CFT, teacher, teaching assistant or the school nurse.
Dealing with difficult topics
Health, relationships and sex education can sometimes raise difficult areas for some schools. We are aware that such topics may arise and will respond using the ‘dealing with questions’ guidelines above. Topics that may arise and will be dealt with (according to age appropriateness) are listed below:
- Body changes and puberty
- Bullying and discrimination, both on and offline
- Sexuality, gender identity and gender expression
- LGBT+ families
- Female genital mutilation or ‘cutting’
- Sexual abuse and assault
- Arranged marriage and forced marriage
Use of Visitors
Sometimes, health professionals, including the school nurse, may be involved in delivering part of the health, relationships and sex education curriculum. They are expected to work within this policy and under the instruction of the head teacher and PSHE coordinators. However, when they are in their professional roles as representatives of other agencies, they should follow their own professional codes of conduct.
Working with Parents and the Right to Withdraw
Plymouth Grove Primary School works closely with parents and carers, and we believe strongly in the central role of strong, positive home-school communication. Health, relationships and sex education should not be left to chance and is a responsibility shared with parents / carers and families. We recognise that there may be a variety of responses from parents to the updating of the SRE curriculum. Parents will be informed and supported by staff through written communication from teaching staff, outlining the structure and content of the curriculum. This communication will be standardised across the school. Parents are also welcome to view any resources used in school, or meet with staff in person to discuss the curriculum. The school publishes the health, relationships and sex education policy on the website, which is freely available to parents.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education, but not from health or relationships education. In the situation where children are withdrawn from sex education, the school will find alternative internal provision for that child. Parents wishing to withdraw their child from all or part of sex education should contact the headteacher at the first instance. Class teacher will record conversations with parents regarding a possible withdrawal on CPOMs, and pass any concerns or queries directly to the headteacher.
Dealing with the Media
In dealing with the media, in the first instance all staff should refer enquiries to the Head Teacher. Staff should not engage with enquiries further unless directed to do so by the Head Teacher.
Monitoring, Assessing and Reviewing
Governors, in consultation with the headteacher, have a statutory responsibility for health, relationships and sex education in the school. The school’s governing body has agreed the policy and resources used. To ensure that this policy is adhered to and is effective, it will be monitored, reviewed and evaluated regularly. This policy will be monitored on an annual basis by the PSHE leads, headteacher and governors in the school to ensure that the content is relevant for all pupils.
Other related policies
- Anti-bullying - including how the school will deal will any discriminatory language or behaviour
- Child Protection - the process for dealing with any concerns or disclosures made during the process of health, relationships and sex education
- Confidentiality and Data Protection - children have rights under the UNCRC and Children’s Act 1989, and thus can expect their information to be treated sensitively. However, in line with our child protection policy, staff will not give guarantees of confidentiality where the safety and welfare of a child is at risk.
- Key issues we stress on confidentiality are: Reassuring children that their interests will be maintained; encouraging children to talk to their parents / carers; ensuring that children know that teachers cannot guarantee complete confidentiality but that they will know first if it must be broken; ensuring children are informed of sources of confidential advice
- Equality - health, relationships and sex education promotes the understanding of and respect for the protected characteristics, as defined in the Equality Act (2010)
Breaches of the Policy
All staff are under a contractual obligation to uphold this policy as with all other school policies. Teachers have the right to seek support or opt-out of teaching if they feel unable to do so.