A New Primary Scheme of Work Improves SRE in Croydon

During the last 4 years, Croydon Healthy Schools Advisor worked with schools to develop a new Scheme of Work for Primary SRE that covered reception to Year 6. The aim of this piece of work was to increase the number of schools that had a planned programme of SRE throughout the primary years. Previously many primary schools only began SRE in Year 6.

An initial draft was developed by the Healthy Schools Advisor and Croydon SRE Task Group, where upon all primary schools were invited to pilot the first draft of the scheme over the course of a year and feedback comments and suggestions for improvement. A number of teachers who had undergone the national PSHE continuing professional development (CPD) programme were recruited from Croydon schools to help with the review of the final draft to ensure it met any necessary requirements and was as easy to use as possible.

The scheme was launched at the Croydon Healthy Schools Network meeting in 2008. A letter endorsing the development and use of the Scheme of Work from the Chief Executives of Croydon Council, Croydon PCT and the Director of Children Services was circulated to all primary schools encouraging them to use it. The scheme was also endorsed by the local primary head teacher's association. Several Heads fed-back that they gained confidence to adopt the scheme of work because other schools in the area were doing so.

Respect for, and value of difference and diversity in the broader community is at the heart of the scheme of work. The scheme includes sessions on stereotyping, different family units and HIV. For example, HIV is covered as part of learning about stereotyping in Year 6 within the Scheme of Work for primary school SRE in Croydon. First there is a general lesson on stereotyping. The second lesson looks at 'what is HIV' - using a 'draw and write' activity. The lesson progresses to look at HIV stigma and challenging misperceptions, with the emphasis being on reassuring pupils about how HIV is not transmitted, and encouraging them to consider how they would treat someone with HIV. This learning focuses on how to look beyond stereotypes and HIV provides important content to illustrate this. 

The scheme of work includes activities that schools can link into other curriculum areas such as citizenship, science and English if they wish. The scheme was made available to all LA schools free of charge and topic boxes with all example resources highlighted in the scheme are available for loan from the public health resource department.

Use of the scheme of work was evaluated in 2010. An evaluation survey was sent to all 83 LA primary schools. It showed that 45 out of the 54 schools who responded were using the Croydon Scheme of Work. This included a number of faith-based schools. Some of the faith schools were using parts of the Croydon Scheme of Work to supplement their use of more faith-specific resources such as 'In the beginning' and 'Journey in Love'. Over the last year the number of schools using the scheme has increased to 55 with more schools requesting support on implementation before the end of the summer term 2011.

In January 2010, an extra staff member was recruited with a specific remit of helping both primary and secondary schools with their SRE development in order to increase the team's capacity to meet the demand for support and training to schools.

Take up has improved through providing individual support to schools; by providing staff training, delivering school governor presentations at their termly meetings and supporting schools in running parent workshops.  Training by the healthy schools team encourages teachers, governors and parents to consider their own views about SRE as well as reminding them of statutory obligations on diversity issues and aspects of sex and the law as it relates to schools. Schools who had received SRE training from the Healthy Schools team were more likely to say that their staff are now more confident in teaching SRE and their governors are now aware of their statutory responsibilities. Training has been delivered to 151 school governors.

Healthy Schools Croydon believe improving the links between schools and parents where SRE is concerned is vital to the success of any programme. Just over half of the primary schools reported increased consultation with parents about SRE and a total of 487 parents have attended SRE workshops since the scheme was launched. This is an area that the Croydon Healthy Schools team will continue to provide schools with support on. For example a downloadable leaflet about SRE aimed at parents is being created for schools to put on their websites, and will be distributed to all schools.

The five lesson outlines for Year 1 are reproduced below as a sample: 

Learning Intentions and Outcomes

Lesson One: Myself and others

Learning Intention

  • To know the importance of valuing oneself.
  • To recognise that everyone is different.

Learning Outcomes

  • To describe and begin to value individuality and to recognise and celebrate their emotions, gifts and talents.
  • To know and value the different groups to which they belong.
    To recognise similarities and differences between themselves and their peers.

Lesson Two: Body Parts

Learning Intention

  • To recognise their bodies' capabilities and uniqueness.

Learning Outcomes

  • To identify similarities and differences between themselves and the opposite gender. 
  • To recognise and name, using the proper terminology, parts of the body and what those parts do.

Lesson Three: Family

Learning Intention

  • To know that there are different types of family and all families have special roles in children's lives.

Learning Outcomes

  • To be able to describe their family.
  • To understand why their families are special.
  • To identify different ways that families and individual members care for each other.
  • To have identified their special people and be able to describe what makes them special

Lesson Four: Friendships

Learning Intention

  • To understand what friendship is

Learning Outcomes

  • To describe who a friend is and what a friend does.
  • To demonstrate some skills needed to make and maintain friendships

Lesson Five: Choices

Learning Intention

  • To recognise most children can make choices.

Learning Outcomes

  • To understand that they have choices.
  • To recognise that choices and responses will be affected by different factors.
  • To recognise that some choices will be wrong and other choices will be right.
  • To identify a simple way for decision making.

As well as providing very practical resources to support schools to improve SRE provision the process of introducing the scheme of work has resulted in a greatly increased profile for SRE amongst governors, parents, staff and the local community. It is hoped that this increased profile will help sustain further improvements to SRE practice in future.  

For more information contact: Daniel Davies, Healthy Schools Advisor Daniel.Davis@croydon.gov.uk 

Visit the Croydon website for an order form to purchase the scheme of work.  

Published on the Sex Education Forum web-site June 2011