Governors and SRE

The role of governors

Developing sex and relationships education in schools: guidance and training for school governors (Frances, G. and Power, P., Sex Education Forum, London 2003) is an excellent tool supporting governors, contact us for more information.  The Sex Education Forum has also produced this useful factsheet.

The governor's role is crucial to the success of a school's Healthy Schools programme.  They need to ensure that the overarching aims of Healthy Schools work are embedded in the school's plans.  They also take a lead in setting the tone for good PSHE, including SRE and drugs education, and in the development of clear policies.  The governing body has overall responsibility for the SRE policy but should allow the headteacher and staff to exercise their own professional skills in delivering the curriculum in accordance with that policy.

Rather than being responsible for the detailed content of the SRE curriculum it is the Governing Body's role, through a named governor, to check that the content and organisation complies with the overall policy set by them.

Training for governors, particularly for the named governor, is important in enabling them to exercise their specific responsibilities regarding SRE.

Governors and SRE policy development

All schools must have an up-to-date SRE policy, drawn up by the governing body in consultation with teachers, pupils and parents.  This process should ensure the development of a policy reflecting parents' wishes and the culture of the community the school serves.

It is also important that governors are prepared to publicly endorse the policy and SRE programme in the unlikely event that issues are raised by parents or the local press.

The governors should recognise that the policy needs to be made available for inspection by Ofsted, anyone delivering SRE in the school, and to parents, and must:

  • define SRE
  • describe how SRE is provided and who is responsible for providing it
  • say how SRE is monitored and evaluated
  • include information about parents' right to withdrawal, and be regularly reviewed.

An SRE policy should also:

  • make a public statement of the values the school is committed to and which will inform the SRE policy
  • provide a secure framework for staff to work in
  • provide guidance for all staff and outside visitors on the approach and methodology used in the delivery of SRE, including providing guidance for staff on talking about specific issues such as sexuality, contraception and abortion (where appropriate)
  • make links with the school development plan and other relevant school policies, such as equal opportunities and anti-bullying policies, and
  • give clear guidance on confidentiality, dealing with personal disclosures and child protection issues.

Policy consultation

Wide and effective consultation to develop and review the policy is essential and the governors have an important role in this.

Getting parents and carers to help develop and review the policy will have a profound effect on the success of SRE in the school.

Young people should also be consulted by being asked to comment on what they would like to know about, which aspects are worrying them, and how and from whom they would like to find out more.