If you’re a Primary Teacher preparing/dreading Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) this Summer Term, we’ve written these impartial top tips to help you feel more at ease. 1. Get comfortable with the terminology Yes, good SRE involves saying some anatomically-correct words that might not be part of your normal vocabulary! But using euphemisms will not do anyone any favours and could actually complicate matters. If you feel uncomfortable with the terminology, you have several options: Practise saying the words to yourself until it becomes easier. Remind yourself that it is just a word that is important for children to learn and use. Ask for support from a colleague who might be willing to team teach with you. Attend a training course on high quality SRE. Ask a colleague to teach the lessons that you feel unable to. Overall, emphasise to children that, whilst they may use different words at home to refer to part of their bodies, at school we use agreed terminology throughout. 2. Set a Group Charter Agreement before you start This is vital for any PSHE lesson, particularly for SRE, to create a safe and positive learning environment. Setting expectations from the outset can help to avoid awkward situations too. Agree with your class some things like the following: Right to pass: you don’t have to ask or answer questions if you don’t want to. Respect everyone’s right to an opinion: you don’t have to set the expectation that we should respect everyone else’s opinion, this is unfair to ask anyone. Opportunity for all: give everyone the chance to participate if they would like. Confidentiality: ensure everyone in the class understands what this entails in your school context. Kindness: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. 3. Be clear about the law and legalities Make sure you are up-to-date with current guidelines on parents’ right to withdraw their child/children from SRE, as well as what the Science curriculum teaches, and what to do if a child discloses something in one of your lessons. 4. Be familiar with your school’s SRE policy Whilst personally you may agree or disagree with what is in the SRE curriculum, professionally you have to ensure that you are teaching to the school’s SRE policy. If you feel uncomfortable about this, inform senior management, being very clear about your concerns and why this could affect the quality of your teaching. In future, you may like to participate in the policy review process if you would like to change any part of it. 5. Be ready for ‘awkward’ questions As with point 3, forewarned is forearmed. Children are curious and, for many, their favourite question is “Why?” Rather than avoiding children’s questions, we need to do them the courtesy of answering honestly. Answer at a knowledge level that is appropriate to that child’s age and stage of development, with the opportunity given for the child to be able to ask further questions if needed. Why not practise answering questions in a clear, matter-of-fact way with your colleagues. 6. Think as a professional, not as a parent For many teachers who are also parents, there can be a tendency to protect children from information about SRE with the reasoning that “my child/children didn’t learn about this until they were older”, often with the rationale that “it didn’t do them any harm”. However, things change. Time marches on and current SRE guidelines and good practice evolve too. We need to ensure that today’s children are receiving accurate, consistent information from trustworthy sources. So that their knowledge is not riddled with myths, misunderstood notions and fear. 7. Have fun! SRE lessons can be fun, entertaining and injected with humour, so don’t try to stop children from giggling. If you as a teacher bring levity and ease to your lessons, children are more likely to react positively. As such, they will become naturalised to it and treat it as a normal part of life. Surely this is something that we would all like for our children… What do you think? What in your experience has worked best when teaching SRE?