What does the National Curriculum say?

Please refer to the following excerpts from the National Curriculum for Science which are relevant to the teaching of sex and gender within maintained schools.

Within the programme of study for Biology at Key Stage 3 (Year 7, 8 and 9, aged 11-14), the National Curriculum says:

“Pupils should be taught about:

…reproduction in humans (as an example of a mammal), including the structure and function of the male and female reproductive systems, menstrual cycle (without details of hormones), gametes, fertilisation, gestation and birth, to include the effect of maternal lifestyle on the foetus through the placenta”

Within the programme of study for Biology at Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11, aged 14-16), the National Curriculum says:

“Students should be helped to understand how, through the ideas of biology, the complex
and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a number of
key ideas which are of universal application… These ideas include:

…sex determination in humans”

The National Curriculum for Science also highlights the importance of ‘working scientifically’ and promotes ‘scientific attitudes’ across all key stages (including Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in primary settings).

The Programme of Study for Key Stage 4 says that students should:

“develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of scientific enquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them


develop their ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively”