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#5 What is the right age to start teaching RSE?

Children are interested in 'where babies comes from' and what makes boys and girls different from a very young age. So don't worry - it is natural for children to be curious and ask these questions.

Children take in the information around them about sex and relationships from a very young age even if no-one talks to them about it. Many of the things they pick up are incorrect and confusing. For this reason it is important that parents and carers answer their children's questions to help them make sense of it all. 

Adults often find questions about sex and relationships difficult and embarrassing - but if adults are able to answer in an honest and confident way this will set the tone for children - making it easier for them to bring up similar topics as they are growing up. There is advice available for parents as well as resources such as story books. 

Good quality RSE is taught through a spiral curriculum which develops with the child. RSE begins with teaching children about appropriate behaviour, safety and basic understanding of their bodies and how families care for them. Five year olds are not taught about how people have sex.

In a poll of 1000 parents of school-aged children, 78% said they wanted primary schools to teach children about the difference between safe and unwanted touch and how to speak up if someone treats them inappropriately, whilst 72% of parents felt that primary schools should educate children on what to do if they find online pictures showing private body parts or are asked to send them.

The Sex Education Forum curriculum design tool sets out questions to explore in RSE by age and stage and be used to help construct a sprial and developmental programme.