RSE KS2: Identity - Understanding sexual and gender identities
Children from across the UK pose questions to trusted adults on the topic of identity, specifically understanding sexual and gender identities.
In this short film you will see small groups of children ask questions on behalf of their peers to adults they trust.
Questions covered are:
- What does stereotypes mean?
- What’s the difference between sex and gender?
- What are the different gender identities?
- What do you think transgender means?
- When do people feel like they want to change gender?
- Why are there so many letters in LGBTQ?
- Does everyone have a sexual orientation?
- Why are some people gay or lesbian?
- Do you have any friends that are gay or lesbian?
The adult’s answers are not scripted or prepared – the video features authentic, unrehearsed responses to a variety of questions.
The issues raised are real life concerns from children aged 9-12 which were generated through RSE workshops facilitated by professional workshop facilitators.
The content acts as stimulus material for teachers to prompt discussions around related topics.
It shows how to deal with sensitive subjects in an age-appropriate, open and honest way.
The peer-based learning approach encourages pupils to think for themselves and to pose questions using their own language.
The video encourages children to find answers to actual questions and to gain a balanced view of these important issues.
This short film has been made in consultation with PSHE subject experts and teachers.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with your pupils.
Before watching the film
This short film is produced with 9-12 year olds in mind, however always make yourself familiar with the content and consider carefully whether it will be appropriate and of use for your specific cohort.
Remember to check through the current statutory guidance from your government.
This will give you a good overarching view of the content you need to be covering in your sessions.
Check your school policies to make sure you follow school guidelines and talk to a member of the SLT if in doubt about anything.
Check to see if any of your class have any child protection issues or are vulnerable children.
Also consider thoroughly any SEN (Special Educational Needs) and whether this short film is the best resource to use with every child in your class.
Once you are confident it is the right resource for your pupils, watch it through alone and consider how it would work best for you all.
Watch the teacher support film with PSHE specialist Kate Daniels, for further support and tips for using these resources.
Finally, consider carrying out an initial assessment in order to pitch your lessons correctly.
This is highly recommended as it will give you a clear snapshot of your pupils’ understanding and, by assessing at the end of the lesson/lessons, you will also get a clear picture of the impact of your lesson/lessons and good insight into what your pupils have learnt and what areas they will need more support with.
Using the film
This can be used as a starter, a focus in the main part of your lesson or in the plenary - think about what works for you and each specific cohort.
However you decide to use the film, always set up a working agreement with the class at the beginning of the lesson to create a list of ground rules so everyone feels safe and able to talk and join in discussions without being judged. Remember to include a reminder to talk to a trusted adult if anything in the film makes your pupils feel worried or uncomfortable.
As the film is all about discussion and talking it lends itself to supporting quality discussion in and with your class.
- The title of the film – ‘Understanding sexual and gender identities’.
- The questions from the film – What does stereotypes mean? What’s the difference between sex and gender? What are the different gender identities? What do you think transgender means? When do people feel like they want to change gender? Why are there so many letters in LGBTQ? Does everyone have a sexual orientation? Why are some people gay or lesbian? Do you have any friends that are gay or lesbian?
- Definitions and ideas about what sexual identity is.
- Definitions and ideas about what gender identity is.
Questions generated directly (possibly anonymously as in these films), during the lesson, from your pupils.
Whatever you choose, encourage lots of open discussion - paired, group and/or as whole class - write any ideas up on a flip chart or smart board so you can use or refer back to these in this or any other lesson.
- Art - Exhibition celebrating the beauty of diversity in all its forms.
- Descriptive writing – Developing understanding and empathy. How would it feel to realise you were different from your family or friends in terms of your sexuality or gender? (Perhaps family members or friends could be invited to come and talk to them if this was relevant to you and you felt this was appropriate for this class).
- Drama – Freeze frames through to writing and creating scripts – Developing understanding and empathy. Exploring sexuality and gender with the focus on inclusion and equality.
- A classroom/school display – Focusing on people in history or current famous people of all different sexualities and genders.
Dance - Exploring the sense of freedom felt when everyone can be who they want to be and love who they want to love.
Whatever you choose, always allow enough time to clarify any misunderstanding, answer any questions that have been unanswered, and give pupils time for quiet reflection at the end.
Always check in with the group before they leave and remind them of their working agreement.
Consolidate the importance (and value) of talking to someone they trust if anything they have seen or discussed has made them feel uncomfortable. Include signposting – both in school and outside on where they can get further support or information (e.g. ChildLine).
Assessment – Complete an assessment to see what your pupils have learnt and what their gaps are.
Feed this into your planning for future lessons.
There are eight other films in this series which focus on different RSE topics.
You could continue to use these across a few lessons/weeks, if timetabling allows, addressing each film topic.
These short films were created in consultation with a PSHE education expert and are designed for teachers for use with children aged 9-12. Teachers can use them to complement:
- The upper KS2 RSE National Curriculum teaching requirement in England.
- The Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland; specifically relationships, sexual health and parenthood education in school Level 2.
- The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessments in Northern Ireland.
- Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) and the KS2 Welsh Curriculum.