Prepared for puberty

Innovating primary schools prepare pupils for puberty

Media release - 25 June 2014

A new project by the Sex Education Forum, with support from the Wellcome Trust, seeks to establish innovative approaches to teaching children about puberty in primary school, to prepare pupils for the changes they will experience before they happen.

Prepared for Puberty has started working with six primary schools across England to pilot new and creative approaches to puberty education. Crucially, all the schools will involve parents in the project, and will ensure that the children are consulted about what they need to learn. The teachers leading the projects will seek inspiration from the arts and science to design creative and engaging lessons.

While government guidance on sex and relationships education clearly states that all children should be taught about puberty before they experience it, in practice Ofsted reports that many schools fail to do so adequately. 

Furthermore, a Sex Education Forum survey of over 200 teachers found that 17% either do not always or don’t ever use correct names for sexual parts of the body.

Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said:

“Failure to provide early teaching on sex and relationships education leaves children needlessly afraid about physical and emotional changes and searching for answers from unreliable sources. Parents also tell us that they expect schools to be teaching about puberty and are sometimes surprised by how late the topic is introduced.

Through the Prepared for Puberty project, we want to nurture ingenious and inventive teaching practice and then to share the results nationally so that all primary schools can benefit from fresh approaches to this vital topic and thus better support children’s health and well-being. With children now expected to learn in Year 5 about the changes experienced at puberty in National Curriculum science there is a vital opportunity for every school to get to grips with this topic.”

To find out more, sign up for updates for the project via our home-page or by emailing 'free updates' to



For more information please contact the National Children's Bureau's media office on 0207 843 6045 / 47 or email For urgent enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.


Notes to editors 

About the Sex Education Forum
The Sex Education Forum is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). We believe that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and we are working with our member organisations - including religious, children's, parents, health and education organisations - to achieve this. The Sex Education Forum is hosted by the National Children’s Bureau. For further information visit:

About the National Children's Bureau

The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. We work with children and for children, to influence government policy, be a strong voice for young people and practitioners, and provide creative solutions on a range of social issues. For more information visit

About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.