Sex education provides an understanding that positive, caring environments are essential for the development of a good self-image and that individuals are in charge of and responsible for their own bodies. It ought to provide knowledge about the processes of reproduction and the nature of sexuality and relationships. It should encourage the acquisition of skills and attitudes which allow students to manage their relationships in a responsible and healthy manner. In an international community, due consideration must be given to the different religions, cultures and traditions from which students come. For this reason, it was decided that for certain aspects, boys and girls would be taught separately.
Sex education at Padworth College is taught in a cross curricular way through Biology, Personal, Social and Health Education, with assistance from the College Nurse. The diverse staffing and the variety of experience contained within this teaching body are seen as a valuable resource for the delivery of sex education. In an age appropriate way, a variety of sensitive issues will inevitably be explored. It is recognised that an individual’s sexuality is a highly personal matter. It is intended that students will be given up-to-date information on a wide variety of contraceptive methods. The College Nurse is available for individual consultation.
Sex Education in the Curriculum
Part of the make-up of all humans is that they are sexual beings. It would be irresponsible of the College to ignore this. The sex education programme aims to be a sensitive and responsible one which is set in a moral and social framework.
The prime responsibility for bringing up children rests with parents. Colleges must recognise that parents are key figures in helping their children cope with the emotional and physical aspects of growing up and in preparing them for the challenges and responsibilities which sexual maturity brings. The teaching offered by schools should be seen as complementary and supportive to the role of parents, especially needed when many of our students are boarders and may not have regular contact with parents.
The 1988 Education Reform Act (Section 1) states that all pupils should be offered the opportunity of receiving a comprehensive, well-planned programme of sex education during their school careers through a curriculum which:
- “promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and of society; and
(b) prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.”
It is recognised that sex education is a difficult issue which will place demands on schools and teachers. However, the purpose of sex education should be to provide knowledge about loving relationships, the nature of sexuality and the processes of human reproduction. At the same time, it should lead to the acquisition of understanding and attitudes which prepare students to view their relationships in a responsible and healthy manner.
The Parental Right to Withdraw their Son or Daughter from Sex Education Lessons
Section 241 of the Education Act 1993 gives parents the right to withdraw their children from any or all parts of the school’s programme of sex education, other than those elements which are required by the National Curriculum Science Order. It is realised that, under exceptional circumstances, a very small number of parents may wish to exclude their children from this programme. In this case, such parents should write to the Principal, stating their objections. The schemes of work contained within this document will enable parents to estimate the point at which specific aspects of sex education will be delivered to their child.
Advice to Individual Students
It is understood that it is important to distinguish between the college’s function of providing education generally about sexual matters and the giving of advice to individual students on these issues. Good teachers have always taken a pastoral interest in the welfare and well-being of their pupils. It is also understood that this function should never trespass on the proper exercise of parental rights and responsibilities. It is understood that particular care must be exercised in relation to giving contraceptive advice to pupils under the age of sixteen, for whom sexual intercourse is unlawful
Where the circumstances are such as to lead the member of staff to believe that the student has embarked upon, or is contemplating, a course of conduct which is likely to place him or her at moral or physical risk or in breach of the law, the member of staff has the general responsibility to ensure that the student is aware of the implications and is urged to seek advice. Notice must also be taken of the College rules, essential in a boarding environment that forbids ‘inappropriate behaviour’ at the College, with related sanctions.
In the attempt to enable students to acquire knowledge, skills, responsible attitudes and behaviour with regard to sex education, Padworth College aims to:
- Provide a worthwhile educational experience for all its students which will present opportunities:
- to help students to consider the importance of self-restraint, dignity, respect for themselves and for others, acceptance of responsibility, sensitivity towards the needs and views of others, loyalty and fidelity;
- to enable students to recognise the physical, emotional and moral implications, and risks, of certain types of behaviour and to accept that both sexes should behave responsibly in sexual matters;
- to support the personal development and social skills of the students;
- to ensure that students have an understanding of their own and others’ sexuality;
- to enjoy relationships based upon mutual respect and responsibility which are free from abuse and exploitation;
- to provide information and knowledge which will counteract prejudice and ignorance;
- to develop an understanding of risk and to promote strategies for personal safety;
- to enable students to be aware of the sources of help and to acquire the skills and confidence to use them.
Reviewed August 2012
Next Review August 2013