facebook pixel

The change process, parents and Relationships, Sex and Health Education

Consulting parents about the school Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy is a requirement of the new legislation which applies from September 2020. Schools might be apprehensive about how to approach this, but with some preparation it can be a really positive opportunity to strengthen relationships with parents and carers. Here are some of the steps your school could take to build regular communication about RSE and Health Education.

Research with young people shows that they do actually want their parents to have a role in educating them about relationships and sex. Parents may not have had particularly good sex education when they were growing up, and sometimes struggle to fulfil the role of educator for their own children. Offering parents support with their role at home from the outset is usually very welcome.

A first step for schools can be to inform parents about what the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum covers, to invite views on your current provision, and then to ask parents if they’d like more information about any of the topics to support discussions at home. Asking open questions and leaving a space for comments is a good way to start understanding parents’ perspectives and needs.

Consulting students about their views on your current provision is important too. Student surveys, activities in lessons or focus group discussions can be useful. Sharing a summary of student views with parents can be very illuminating.

As plans progress for how the curriculum will be updated and what resources will be used, parents will value an opportunity to see examples of teaching materials and how they are used in practice. Display these materials at other school events which parents are attending, with the school PSHE or RSHE lead available for one-to-one discussions. Using multiple channels to communicate will ensure that a wider range of parents have the opportunity to understand what will be covered and how.

Parents must be informed that they have the right to request their child is withdrawn from Sex Education, but not Relationships Education, which is mandatory in both primary and secondary schools.

Parent consultation will be much easier if the school strives to be a parent-friendly school as a whole. This takes the focus off RSE, instead it may be about mapping where RSE fits with existing parent and community engagement. Begin this conversation by asking parents if they feel their families and community are represented and reflected in school life and the curriculum. If not, what would this look like, what would be different?

Communication with parents about RSE needs to be a regular, ongoing process, not a one-off event. There are resources available to help including an information guides for parents from the Department for Education and their guide to parental engagement

We’ll be talking about parent engagement at ‘The Final Countdown to statutory RSE’ conference on Friday 29th November, with keynotes from Nazir Afzal OBE, a panel discussion with Parentkind and a choice of practical workshops designed for teachers. You can also speak to staff from NCFE about the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education qualifications or you can find out more about these on QualHub. Join the conversation!

Karen Ferguson
Karen Ferguson
Within a school environment, many strategies and techniques are in place to support and guide students on the Autistic Spectrum, and it’s important to focus upon the key areas of difficulty around social interaction, communication, thought, imagination and sensory.
Zac Aldridge
Zac Aldridge
As the end of the first year of T Level delivery has now closed, it’s time to take a breath and reflect on what has been a unique 12 months for our sector.
Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton
Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton
Further education is an important time for many lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) learners. A welcoming environment not only helps LGBTQ+ learners feel comfortable and supported; it also creates the kinds of conditions where they’re able to succeed and fulfil their potential.
Stephen Mordue
Stephen Mordue
Just like in a car, first fear gets you going. In terms of self-care, first gear is our rest and recovery gear.
Case Study
Case Study
Priestley College is one of 33 pioneering pilot providers involved in the roll out of T Levels in Education and Childcare to the first cohort of students. Colleagues at the college talked to NCFE about their T Level success, and how they maintained access to vital industry placements for their students.