Parents as partners in successful Relationships Education
The latest DfE Relationships Education Guidance emphasis the key role parents play as partners in successful Relationships Education, and we fully support that approach.
We are happy to provide support in implementing all of the DfE's recommendations, as outlined below.
- Schools must teach Relationships Education with respect for the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents whilst ensuring pupils are provided with knowledge relating to the Law.
- Schools should recognise that parents and carers are the prime educators for children on many of these matters. A school's responsibility is to complement and reinforce this role. We suggest that it should be recognised at times that some parents find it difficult to talk about these matters with their children and might welcome advice from the school about ways to approach them.
- Parents should be given every opportunity to understand the purpose and content of Relationships Education, and Sex Education if it is delivered. Schools should ensure that parents know what is being taught and when, and have the chance to ask questions.
- Parents have the right to request that their child be withdrawn from sex (but not relationships) education. We recommend that, should such a request be made, parents are invited in to discuss their concerns and any appropriate steps that can be taken to give the child access to the information.
- All schools must have in place a written policy for Relationships Education. Schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their policy. Schools should ensure that their policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve. We provide a sample policy which can be adapted and used in your school. Where a maintained primary school chooses to teach aspects of sex education (going beyond the national curriculum for science) the school must set this out in their policy and schools should consult with parents on what is to be covered.
- All primary schools that choose to teach sex education must allow parents a right to withdraw their children. The policy must be made available to parents and others and a copy provided free of charge to anyone who asks for one, and publish it on their website.
- Schools should also ensure that, when they consult with parents, they provide examples of the resources they plan to use. This can be reassuring for parents, and enables them to continue the conversations started in class, at home. We can support you in this process.
A mum of a year 5 child in Northamptonshire wrote to us after one of our sessions to tell us about its impact:
'I have a son in year 5 and he came home from the [Relationships Education] session filled with facts and figures and information about the day. He was very happy to share with me and talk to me using all the correct words without any embarrassment and, which tells me it was delivered to him in a very appropriate way.'
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Department of Education (2019): Understanding Relationships and Health Education in your child’s primary school: a guide for parents
Department of Education (2019): Parental Engagement on Relationships Education (provides information to primary schools on what is expected of them in terms of parental engagement on the forthcoming introduction of Relationships Education and why)