Key Information

Human Development Policy

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A Statement of Belief

We believe that education about human development and relationships is an important element of the curriculum in preparing children for the experience, the responsibilities and the opportunities of growing up.  This education should be part of the curriculum from Nursery to Year 6 and should combine the emotional, physical, moral and social aspects of human development.  It should be sensitive and appropriate to the child’s age, stage of development and cultural background.  We also believe that educating children about human development and relationships plays an important part in keeping them safe as they grow up (see safeguarding policy).

This policy was developed with regard to the Human Development and Relationship Education Guidance Department for Education and Skills 2000, the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and National Healthy Schools Programme.  This policy links with the science, Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCHE) and confidentiality policies.  In writing this policy we have consulted with:

·         parents / carers

·         school staff

·         school governors

·         the Tower Hamlets Healthy Lives Team

What Is Human Development and Relationship Education?

Human Development and Relationship Education is lifelong learning about physical, sexual, moral and emotional development.  It is the understanding of how children develop from babyhood, through childhood to adulthood and the importance of stable and loving relationships, respect for each other and family life.  At the primary level it involves acquiring age appropriate information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes about themselves and others.


The teaching of human development and relationships aims to:

  • prepare pupils for the physical and emotional changes of growing up and, at the end of Key Stage 2, for the onset of puberty;
  • understand how people form relationships, live in families or choose other lifestyles;
  • provide appropriate information about how babies grow and are born;
  • give children the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and their lifestyle as they grow up;
  • develop a sense of the rights and responsibilities associated with human development and relationships;
  • help to dispel rumours that are incorrect and which may lead to fear and anxiety;
  • discuss misleading stereotypes e.g. about gender;
  • give children the knowledge and strategies they need to keep themselves safe from inappropriate or abusive behaviour towards them;
  • help children to respect their bodies and develop their confidence as unique individuals;
  • consider broader emotional, ethical, religious, dimensions of relationships;
  • communicate effectively by developing an appropriate vocabulary with which they can discuss human development and relationship issues.

Principles and Values

Columbia School believes Human Development and Relationships education should:

  • recognise that parents/carers are key people in teaching their children about relationships and growing up;
  • work in partnership with parents, carers and pupils consulting them about the content of programmes;
  • recognise that the wider community has much to offer and work in partnership with health professionals, social workers, peer educators and other mentors or advisers;
  • be a part of the lifelong learning process, beginning in early childhood and continuing into adult life;
  • be an entitlement for all young people;
  • support every student to contribute to our community as they grow and learn;
  • be set within the wider school context and support a range of family commitments. recognising that family is a broad concept and includes a variety of different compositions;
  • encourage children and teachers to share and respect each others’ views;
  • create an atmosphere where questions and discussion can take place without stigma or embarrassment.

Human Development and Relationship Education at Columbia has three main elements:

Attitudes and Values

  • learning the importance of personal values;
  • learning the value of respect, love and care for other people;
  • learning the value of stable and loving relationships, all kinds of family life and marriage;
  • learning about the nurturing of babies and children;
  • exploring  and understanding moral dilemmas;
  • developing critical thinking as part of decision-making
  • challenging misconceptions and assumptions about what is normal behaviour.

Personal and Social Skills

  • learning to live, work and co-operate with other people;
  • learning to manage emotions and relationships confidently and sensitively;
  • developing self-respect, self-esteem  and empathy for others;
  • learning to make choices with an absence of prejudice;
  • developing an appreciation of the consequences of choices made;
  • managing difficult situations, arguments and conflicts;

Knowledge and Understanding

  • learning and understanding about physical development at age appropriate stages;
  • understanding how babies grow and are born;
  • understanding their changing feelings and emotions
  • understanding a range of relationships that make up our society.

Organisation and Content of Human Development and Relationship Education

Columbia School delivers Human Development and Relationship Education through its PSCHE Programme at Key Stage 1, and Key Stage 2.  Children learn about how their bodies grow and change from babyhood, through childhood, to puberty.  They also learn about how their feelings and emotions will change as they grow up, from being entirely dependent on their parents and families to becoming more independent as they mature, until they may choose to form family relationships of their own.

The Programme is taught in every year at an age appropriate level.  The curriculum follows the Christopher Winter Project resources and lesson planning and the Department for Education guidance. When children ask questions, we aim to answer them truthfully but at an age appropriate level.  If it is felt that answering a specific question would involve information at a level inappropriate to the development of the rest of the pupils, the question may be left for a later time when the child is older.  Advice may be taken from the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher. Support is offered from the PSCHE Leader of Learning who will help with planning or delivery of lessons if required.

Assessment is carried out at the end of every module and involves teacher, pupil and peer assessment of knowledge and understanding, interpersonal skills, and attitudes.


Ethnic and Cultural Groups

We intend our policy to be sensitive to the needs of different groups.  In Year 5 and 6 it is usually appropriate for some topics to be taught in single sex groups.

Students with Special Needs

We will try to ensure that all children receive Human Development and Relationship education and we will offer provision appropriate to the particular needs of all our students, taking specialist advice where necessary.

Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation

We aim to deal sensitively with issues of sexual orientation, to answer appropriate questions and offer support.  Children need to feel that Human Development and Relationship education is open to their concerns and is relevant and informative for them whatever their developing sexuality.  Children at Columbia live in many different types of families.  We want them to see the relationships in all families reflected in a positive way, regardless of the sexual orientation of parents.


We believe that teaching about safety and relationships as part of PSHE education contributes to the safeguarding of our pupils (see safeguarding policy and appendices relating to female genital mutilation).  It helps them to recognise when they and others are at risk and equips them with the skills, strategies and language they need to take appropriate action.  This is crucial to fulfilling statutory duties in relation to safeguarding pupils as well as to meeting Ofsted expectations.  Ofsted expressed concern in its 2013 PSHE report that lack of high-quality, age-appropriate Human Development and Relationship Education in over a third of schools left young people vulnerable to inappropriate sexual behaviours and exploitation.  It is clear, therefore, that PSHE education plays a vital part in helping to meet our responsibilities to keep children safe.

E safety

We believe that the teaching of human development and relationships strengthens children’s ability to identify online risks to their emotional and physical wellbeing and recognise unsafe contacts.  It also gives them the confidence to report any concerns about themselves or others to adults.


Teachers do not offer confidentiality in their interactions with pupils.  In any case where child protection procedures need to be followed teachers should ensure that the child understands that the Headteacher must know, in order to keep them safe.  The Headteacher will follow all child protection procedures as laid down by the local authority. Other health professionals in school are bound by their professional codes of conduct and must follow their child protection procedures.

The Right of Withdrawal of Pupils from Human Development and Relationship Lessons

Some parents prefer to take the responsibility for the teaching of human development and relationship education themselves. They have the right to withdraw their children from some Human Development and Relationship lessons (those which are part of the non-statutory PSCHE curriculum).  The School will make alternative arrangements for these children in such cases.  There is however, no statutory right to withdraw their children from the National Curriculum.  Parents must discuss their decisions with the Headteacher at the earliest opportunity.  Parents are welcome to review any Human Development and Relationship resources which the school uses and there are consultation meetings for parents/carers whenever the school policy is revised or up-dated.

To give parents sufficient time to consider the above, we write to parents at the start of the half term the children are learning about Human Development and Relationships.  In the letter we will indicate where parents can find out which topics are covered in the curriculum for their child’s year group and by which date they need to inform us if they wish to withdraw their child from the sessions.  We will also send a text to let parents know about the letter.

Our Information
Columbia Primary School,
Columbia Road,
E2 7RG


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