School nurse management of children's questions when they are involved in primary school sex education: an exploratory study

PIERCY, Hilary and HAYTER, Mark (2008). School nurse management of children's questions when they are involved in primary school sex education: an exploratory study. Primary health care research and development, 9 (01), 75-84.

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Aim The aim of this paper is to explore school nurses’ experiences of teaching Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) as part of the primary school curriculum. In particular it focuses on the questions that the children ask during the lessons and the strategies which the nurses employ in managing those questions. Background School based Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is an important aspect of children’s education. However, it is a highly politicised and controversial area which is a matter of concern to a wide number of stakeholders. In the primary school setting, school nurses are commonly involved in delivery of the programme. Their input is particularly valued because they are ‘specialist outsiders’ who create an environment which is conducive to discussion of sensitive topics. To date there is little understanding of the skills that they employ in managing the educational needs of primary school children within the confines of a pre-agreed school curriculum. Methods Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with small groups of school nurses from a single geographical location in the Midlands region of England. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Findings Data identified the ways in which the nurses viewed and responded to the children’s agenda which was realised in the form of questions. In particular it focuses on what they deemed to be inappropriate questions and the basis upon which this label was applied. Five strategies for managing these inappropriate questions were identifiable from the data. Their deployment is explored in relation to the tensions implicit in the realisation of sexualised realities in a classroom setting.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 75-84
Depositing User: Hilary Piercy
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2011 15:44
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:00

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