The Sex Education Forum have published practice
examples that show how schools and local communities are developing
SRE programmes that respond to particular faith and values
Links to the practice examples are below together with
some background on understanding faith,
values and SRE.
The practice examples
Faith Considerations: Primary School SRE Policy and
A primary school was looking to develop its SRE
policy. After meetings between the LA SRE Coordinator, the
Headteacher, the deputy head and the school nurse they arrived at
the stage where they wanted to involve parents. The school has a
high Somalian community and so had to consider the cultural
within Jewish youth movements
During the summer months JAT is invited to run SRE sessions at
many of the Jewish youth movement camps. SRE sessions at camp have
some unique qualities, which are explored in this
considerations: primary school parents meeting
The Tower Hamlets Healthy Schools Team supported a primary
school developing its SRE policy hold a meeting for parents,
the majority of which come from the Bangladeshi Muslim
considerations - writing SRE guidance
Tower Hamlets local authority decided to produce local
guidelines for schools on the teaching of sex and
relationships including information about the attitudes of the
major faith groups represented in the borough.
Building relationships between secular and faith-based
organisations; a case-study in sexual health promotion
This case-study describes how voluntary sector
organisation Naz Project London is building and sustaining links
with Muslim communities.
A working strategy for SRE; from faith-based organisation
By working with existing cultural and faith structures and
institutions such as youth movements and Sunday schools JAT (Jewish
Action and Training for sexual health) has helped a wide range of
adults working with Jewish young people to address SRE confidently,
competently and appropriately.
Review and the role of faith
Thurrock Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
carried out a Review of SRE. The Review Panel started from the
position that faith can have a positive role to play in reducing
teenage pregnancies and supporting young people.
the SRE needs of Asian young people in Nottingham
This case-study describes a consultation process with Asian
young people in Nottingham about their views on SRE.
Partnership working between the Diocese and local authority in
Though working with a cluster of Roman Catholic primary schools the
local authority SRE Coordinator in Stockton and the Catholic
Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has established an effective
working relationship which is supporting the provision of SRE.
values and SRE
Values are key to sex and relationships education (SRE) because
of the personal and social nature of the issues covered. There are
clear core values that run through good quality SRE, including:
- Mutual respect
- Loving and happy relationships
- Rights to information, safety and health
- Equality; particularly on the basis of gender and sexual
- Responsibility for oneself and others
Good quality SRE should provide a safe space for children and young
people to identify and reflect on their own values and those of
others including their peers. There is also a place in SRE
for learning about the values of different faiths and cultures. It
is important that there is clarity about when a faith or
belief-based view is being presented and discussed and when
information is medical or legal facts, for example.
Some young people have described tensions that they experience
between sexual norms and values in their home and community and
those in wider society (Testa et al, 2006). Young people have also
said that they want to discuss a range of views including cultural
and religious perspectives in school SRE (Healthy Schools
Nottingham, 2008 and Sex Education Forum 2004). Competent
teachers are able to facilitate discussion while maintaining the
core values outlined above and challenging discrimination.
In some schools; including faith-based and non-faith schools,
SRE has been lacking because of misunderstandings about what is
included in SRE and what the core values are, fear about the
reaction of parents and carers, and a lack of training and support
for teachers. Many parents and carers are supportive of SRE
but may be unclear about how to broach these issues with their
children and therefore will appreciate any support that is offered
by their child's school.
Schools have flexibility to deliver an SRE programme that is
consistent with their values. They also have a responsibility to
uphold children and young people's rights to accurate information,
safety, health and well-being and anti-discriminatory practice.
The examples of practice presented on our web-site show how
schools and local communities are developing SRE programmes that
respond to particular faith and values contexts. Collectively these
examples aim to demonstrate that:
- Quality SRE promotes positive values and is a safe space for
children and young people to explore and reflect on values
- Faith perspectives can be included in SRE and can enrich
teaching and learning
- Faith and values are important dimensions of SRE in and out of
school and also of sexual health promotion
- Faith and values dimensions of SRE are relevant in all schools
including faith and non-faith schools
Success factors and key learning are identified from each example.
There are a number of key themes that emerge:
- There is potential to involve children and young people and
hear their views about SRE, faith and values.
- Building effective partnerships is essential and requires time
to develop trust.
- Open dialogue is needed with a wide range of partners including
parents and carers, faith leaders, schools and children and young
- There will sometimes be tensions in values between people and
also within individuals -it is helpful to acknowledge these and to
explore areas of common ground
- There is often a lot of common ground and some core shared
values between people of different faiths and beliefs.
- There is not one 'right way' to do SRE - there is a need to
tailor SRE to the context and needs of children and young people as
an ongoing process throughout their physical and emotional
Values are central to the Sex Education Forum's identity. Our
statement of values and principles has been
created and agreed by our member organisations and is a central
reference point in our work.
We have also produced a factsheet
on faith, values and SRE, which is free to download, and a
book that is available to purchase.
If you have an example to share of faith, values and SRE in
practice we would like to hear from you. Please contact the Sex Education
Healthy Schools Nottingham (2008) Sex and relationships
education and Asian pupils in Nottingham
Sex Education Forum (2004) Faith, values and sex and relationships
Testa, A., and Coleman, L. (2006) Sexual health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours
among black and minority ethnic youth in London. A summary of
findings. Trust for the Study of Adolescence/Naz Project