The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Why we shouldn’t forget SRE for pupils with SEND

To discuss why sex and relationship education is just as important for pupils with SEND, SENCo Gareth D Morewood interviews Martin Jones, Head of Beliefs and Values at Priestnall School. 

 

In March 2015 the Guardian published an article on Pupils with learning difficulties are being denied their right to sex education. The shocking sub-title ‘Children with learning difficulties are twice as likely to be sexually abused and yet some schools – or parents – feel too embarrassed or angry to educate them’ made me think more about not only how we support young people, but how we educate them about preparing for adulthood.

Why is sex and relationships education (SRE) important?

SRE is vital for a wide range of reasons. Firstly, SRE education is on the front-line of safeguarding – covering the emergent issues of grooming and internet safety, including sexting and revenge porn. The teaching of effective SRE by skilled specialists highlights the risks young people face when they interact with both the virtual and the real world. Secondly, it allows pupils to understand who they are. They can explore their identities in the light of their relationships, their sexuality and their online persona, as well as who they are and who they will be physically.

How should we view SRE when considering pupils with SEND?

As a parent of a child who lives with a disability, this is more than just a professional issue for me. I want my daughter to be safe. I want her to understand the risks that young people face in an increasingly virtual world. I want my daughter to be confident. I want her to tackle the changes and challenges of puberty without fear. I want my daughter to embrace life. I want her to be able to experience friendships, love, trust, companionship and even passion. I want her to be able to understand and embrace sharing her life with others. If, as a parent, this is what I want for my child, surely as a teacher I can do nothing less than make this a reality for other children.

Tailoring SRE for individual young people with different starting points must be a significant skill for the teachers and parents/carers responsible. What do you think we can do to take on this challenge?

We face challenging times, because we live in changing times. We struggle to adapt SRE provision to a changing society with increasingly complex risks. But we have to RISE to this challenge: Resourcing, Inspiring, Supporting and Encouraging children to build positive relationships and embrace adult life.

 

Further thoughts

What was very clear to me after our initial chat was that this is an area I need to discuss further and consider in more detail, especially in relation to EHC plans and appropriate support for students into early adulthood. I am sure my conversations with Martin will continue and develop further as we explore how our existing curriculum supports our young people and prepares them for life.

 

 

 

Subscribe to Optimus Education's Blog

Join other educators and get the latest Optimus blogs direct to your inbox.
Your data is safe with us: Privacy Policy

Similar Posts

Matt Miller

Terrorism and schools: are we doing enough?

Following publication of a report into how prepared London is for a terrorist incident, Matt Miller considers what the implications are for schools. As autumn descends on a year that will long be remembered for a litany of terrorist atrocities across the country, notably in London and Manchester, I...
Read more...
Katie Rose White

Mental health is no laughing matter, or is it?

Implementing laughing techniques in the classroom can help pupils become more emotionally resilient. Katie Rose White explains how. Stress is a contributing factor to anxiety. Anxiety can lead to panic, depression and low self-esteem. Finding affordable and effective ways to manage stress in...
Read more...
Joanna Feast

Addressing unhealthy lifestyles needn't be a brain-teaser

Late nights or a predilection for fast food are truer to a young person's brain development than you might think. Joanna Feast explains how schools can promote healthier choices. Do you ever find yourself despairing of your students making less-than-healthy choices? Do you imagine how much better...
Read more...