Our Relationships and Sex Education Policy was revised for 2017 in light of a change of scheme. Last year we used the Channel 4 ‘Living and Growing’ resources to teach Relationships and Sex Education. However, staff and governors have been working to undertake a review of our Relationships and Sex Education curriculum in order to best support the need of our pupils. We decided to deliver the Spring Fever Programme as part of our developing provision. Spring Fever is based on a well established and successful Dutch programme, with a strong evidence base that demonstrates the positive impact it has had. Spring Fever has been recommended by Warwickshire LA and is already being delivered by many primary and secondary schools across the county. It is a fully supported training and educational package which focuses on comprehensive Relationship and Sex Education across all year groups from Reception to Year 6.
We appreciate that there is a lot of misunderstanding about what a comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education package might contain, especially when aimed at primary school children. There is the worry that children will lose their innocence if we give them certain information too soon. The evidence suggests that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Spring Fever is an evidence based package which progresses year-by-year to an age appropriate level. The programme is designed to be delivered across all year groups and builds in knowledge and details along with the children’s natural development and curiosity.
There are four key themes that run throughout the programme:
• Physical Development and Self-Image.
• Reproduction and Family Forming.
• Social and Emotional Development.
These themes cover the physical changes of puberty; the similarities and differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies, including giving the correct names to all their body parts (as we know this is a huge protective factor and helps to keep children safe) whilst also answering the question of sex and where babies come from. However more importantly, these issues are supported by a framework of lessons which puts them firmly in context and focuses on children learning the skills to form and maintain positive relationships, especially friendships, based on respect and empathy. The focus is on providing children with a safe space to ask questions and offers fun and responsible support which enables children to express and deal with their feelings in a positive manner. The programme helps to tackle many of the issues which arise naturally in school, for example, dealing with friendships and understanding the social rules and boundaries that exist around us and our bodies.
Schools that have delivered the programme have found that children become more confident and open to asking questions. There is less unrest in the classroom and fewer problems in the interactions between girls and boys. Indeed, children find it easier to correct their classmates if they behave inappropriately or in a manner that makes them feel uncomfortable. Children feel better prepared to deal with the challenges of puberty and become more assertive.