Sex and Relationship Education (SRE)

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of the sex and relationship education provided at school except for those parts included in the statutory National Curriculum. Schools should make alternative arrangements in such cases. The DfE will offer schools a standard pack of information for parents who withdraw their children from sex and relationship education.


All schools MUST have an up-to-date Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) policy which is made available for inspection and parents.


The policy MUST include information about parents' right to withdraw their child from Sex and Relationship Eduation (SRE).


SRE is usually delivered through Personal, Social and Health Education (PHSE).


The Department for Education recommends that it is essential that governing bodies involve parents in developing and reviewing their policies. This will ensure that they reflect parents' wishes and the culture of the community the school serves.


Schools should always work in partnership with parents, consulting them regularly on the content of sex and relationship education programmes.


The DfE guidance on sex and relationships education contains no less than 91 references to parents, but only a passing reference to local authorities (town/city councils).


Headteachers and governing bodies are accountable to parents and have a duty to work in parternship with them in relation to provision of sex and relationships education, not with the local authority (town/city council).


The teaching of some aspects of sex and relationship education might be of concern to teachers and parents. Sensitive issues should be covered by the school's policy and in consultation with parents.


Governors and head teachers should discuss with parents and take on board concerns raised, both on materials which are offered to schools and on sensitive material to be used in the classroom.


Inappropriate images should not be used nor should explicit material not directly related to explanation.


Schools should ensure that pupils are protected from teaching and materials which are inappropriate, having regard to the age and cultural background of the pupils concerned.


Schools will also want to ensure that children are protected from accessing unsuitable materials on the Internet.


Sexual orientation and what is taught in schools is an area of concern for some parents. Schools that liaise closely with parents when developing their sex and relationship education policy and programme should be able to reassure parents of the content of the programme and the context in which it will be presented.

It is up to the governing body of a primary school to decide whether sex education should be taught as part of the school curriculum, but they are free to decide NOT to teach it. If the governing body of a primary school decides not to teach sex education, a written plicy statement to that effect must be kept.


There is no requirement in science in primary school at Key Stage 1 (5-7 years) or Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) to teach children about sexual organs, sexual intercourse, contraception, sexually transmitted infectins, or same-sex relationships.


The law states that if sex education is taught then it must be done so in such a manner as to encourage those pupils to have due regard to moral considerations and the value of family life. It also stresses the need to teach pupils about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children and to ensure that they are protected from teaching and materials which are inappropriate having regard to the age and the religious and cultural background of pupils concerned.

Sex and Relationship Education Guidance
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance
Head teachers, Teachers & School Governors AND PARENTS
Status: good practice
Date of issue: July 2000
Adobe Acrobat document [532.3 KB]

The MPA - What we do?

The Muslim Parents Association is an independent, non-profit making organisation that provides advice, support and training for Muslim parents to advance the education of their children on a variety of themes.

Run by Parents for Parents

Educational Environment

"The child has a different relation to his environment from ours. Adults admire their enviroment; they remember it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and ears hear. In us the same thing produce no change, but the child is transformed by them." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. 


Meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools
Meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)
Adobe Acrobat document [8.6 MB]

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