SRE for students with learning difficulties

Nicola Davison
31st January 2019
Ideas for helping students with SEN understand sex and relationships education

Resources to support the delivery of sex and relationships education (SRE) to young people with SEN

The relationships we have with one another make up the building blocks of society. But even at the best of times, they can be complicated and difficult to understand. Learners with special educational needs often find it harder to understand what it takes to develop positive, respectful relationships, making them more vulnerable than most. As such, taking the time to develop a tailored SRE programme can be crucial to their wellbeing.

Here, we’ve brought together a selection of top resources offering both guidance and lesson ideas to help you to do just that, as well as support students as they consider the concepts of choice and consent.

Guidance materials

Find out how to teach SRE to pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties in these informative resources.

Teachers TV: Special Schools - SRE

Shepherd School, Nottingham, has been recognised as a site of best practice in delivering Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) to young people with learning difficulties. "The work on sex education and relationships is a particular strength", Ofsted reported. This programme explores the thinking behind the pioneering approach to sex and relationship education, and aims to stimulate debate among professionals about delivering an SRE curriculum for pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties. Headteacher David Stewart believes that there is a need to ensure that young people with learning difficulties are safe but that they are also able to enjoy happy sexual lives and healthy relationships. Concessions must not be made because the individual has a learning difficulty. It is an important part of the citizenship curriculum at Shepherd School, involving rights and choices. Controversially, David argues, SRE needs to begin when pupils are as young as five.
By Teachers TV

PHSE - Disrespect NoBody - Discussion Guide

A teaching resource aimed at preventing abuse in teenage relationships, developed by the PSHE Association, Home Office and Government Equalities Office.

The Disrespect NoBody campaign builds on the Government’s previous This is Abuse campaign, and is aimed at preventing abusive behaviours within relationships. The new teaching resource helps young people to understand what a healthy relationship is, to re-think their views of controlling behaviour, violence, abuse and consent and directs them to places to go for help and advice. It aims to help young people to develop key skills and attributes such as empathy, respect, communication and negotiation so that they can enjoy healthy relationships both as they grow up and in adulthood.

The new resource features session plans focussed on understanding teenage relationship abuse, consent and sharing sexual images.
By GEO15

Adolescence and sexuality

Notes for teachers on sexuality and relationships education for students with Down's syndrome.
By Downssyndromeassociation

Reference card on sexual orientation

Information card on issues relevant to sexual orientation and LGB equality in education, including: succinct practical tips; key facts; links to useful resources; and sources of further information & support.

This is an extract from CSIE's resource "Equality: Making It Happen - A guide to help schools ensure everyone is safe, included and learning", relevant to primary and secondary schools, sponsored by teachers' union NASUWT and winner of Innovative Practice Award 2016 from the Zero Project, for a world with zero barriers.

More extracts from "Equality: Making It Happen", including Frequently Asked Questions, equality audit questionnaires and a range of reference cards, are available on this site individually and in bundles. The complete guide is available as a pdf file from and as a hard copy, including CD, from CSIE is a charity that works for equality, not for profit, and relies on sales of resources for its income.

Lesson resources

Kick-start learning about relationships with one of these comprehensive lessons and help raise body awareness using this 9-lesson scheme of work.

Public/Private & Relationship Boundaries

Info for ASC students about appropriate public/private behaviour and little information about different types of relationships & how to appropriately cope with them.
By fayewatton

Same Sex Relationships

Helps students to consider their attitudes towards same sex relationships and supporting friends in diverse relationships.
By DJ_Skoolio

SEN PSHCE Scheme of Work

Scheme of work based on P Levels for use with students who have autism and similar
By ambikins23

Public and private body parts for SEN pupils.

These are worksheet activities for SLD or MLD pupils addressing changes to the body during pubery, public and private body parts and differences between boys and girls.
By boabobobaggins

Menstruation lesson for children with SEN

Designed for verbal autistic KS4 students, this resource works well in communicating the basics about menstruation. It could be taught over two lessons. Additional resources need of clear plastic cups with different amounts of red fluid in (water + food colouring) and a pack of sanitary items (towels, tampons, panty liners etc.)
By keeleywickham

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