SEF Response to New Report From the Christian Institute

A new report from the Christian Institute, released today (Wednesday 9 March 20011), is claiming 'sex education materials are being pushed by public bodies for use in schools with children as young as five'.

Lucy Emmerson from the Sex Education Forum,  hosted by national children's charity NCB, responds:

There is often misunderstanding about what exactly is included in SRE at primary school. Learning should be appropriate to the age and maturity of the child, for example with children aged 3-6 appropriate questions are 'where do babies come from' 'why are girls' and boys' bodies different' and 'which parts of my body are private'. Learning about friendships, families, and changing bodies are also central to primary SRE. Good quality SRE must start in primary school so that children can stay safe and be prepared for growing up.  

We believe that all children and young people are entitled to good quality sex and relationships education (SRE). SRE should be built on year by year with involvement from both school and home. 'Some schools have excellent SRE programmes in place, but children and young people still tell us that in many casesSRE is  too little, too late. For example, some girls start their periods as young as 8 years-old, but won't learn about them in school until they are 10..

Partnership between schools and home is key to good SRE. Often schools are afraid of parental reaction but the key is to have an open dialogue with parents and carers. We know from our years of experience and evidence gathering that the majority of parents support SRE being taught both at home and school.

Well chosen resources can enrich the teaching and learning of SRE. In response to popular demand the Sex Education Forum has published a set of SRE resource lists including a list for primary schools and a list of books and resources for parents and carers to use with their children. We advise schools to make their own choices about which resources to use. We do not endorse the individual resources listed.  We advise  that schools consult with parents and about the resources they use. It is also vital that teachers are confident about choosing and using resources so we have produced a checklist for schools.

View the Sex Education Forum resource lists.  

For more information on what is exactly meant by SRE for primary school aged children.


Notes to editors

  1. 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 its 50 member organisations - includingfaith, children's, parents,, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit
  2. NCB's mission is to advance the well-being of all children and young people across every aspect of their lives.  As the leading national charity which supports children, young people and families, and those who work with them, across England and Northern Ireland, we focus on identifying and communicating high impact, community and family-centred solutions. We work with organisations from across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors through our membership scheme and through the sector-led specialist networks and partnership programmes that operate under our charitable status


For further information contact:

NCB Media Office

Tel: 020 7843 6045/6047 07721 097033     


Evidence about support for SRE from parents, the public and young people is available here: