A plea to parents who support school sex and relationships education- Updated

*Updated*- Please Follow @P4SRE on Twitter

 On Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/P4sre/251857084875239

and http://p4sre.com/ for more information about being SRE supporting parent

In my experience the vast vast majority of parents are supportive of schools delivering Sex and Relationship Education.  They may have some concerns about the material or how to support their child with it, but by engaging with the school about the content of the curriculum then many of these fears can be alleviated.  I have only ever had two students (out of the hundreds possibly thousands I have taught) who have been withdrawn from the lessons following discussions with the parents (and one of these students actually chose to withdraw himself although his parents didn’t mind as much! In the end  I decided he deserved this right to withdraw himself on this occasion although technically legally he probably didn’t!).  Other parents seeking to withdraw were reassured after meetings with me and viewing the materials etc.  Parents and schools have to work together on sex and relationships education, to ensure it is the best possible learning for their child.

Something I have always been aware of is that those who shout the loudest are getting heard.  The thing is in sex and relationships education those loud voices are often the very anti-sex education voices, these voices are in a minority but they sometimes have the power to sway the content and curriculum in their favour so that it no longer represents the majority view, and it’s the children and young people who miss out as a result (don’t forget young people often complain sex and relationships education is often “too little, too late, too biological“.)

So what I am asking is if you are a parent supportive of your child’s school delivering Sex and Relationships education- get involved. Champion it in your child’s school. Work with the school to develop it so it is the best it can possibly be for your child.  Get your voice heard too- Please for the sake of the children!

8 thoughts on “A plea to parents who support school sex and relationships education- Updated

  1. i agree children need SRE, I am not happy with many of the materials such as Living & Growing, BBC Active, Christopher Winter Project etc. I do believe children need to be prepared for changes to their bodt before it happens and that they need to understand sexual relationships. As a Muslim I believe Muslim parents want this delivered within the context of values such as marriage, fidelity etc. The only problem is I have only come across a minority of schools in London which actively teach values and the vast majority of these schools are faith schools. The majority of schools do not actively consult parents, they view parental opposition as undermining the school, some do not stop and think about partnership working with parents, they feel they know best. When parents oppose materials, they are labelled as ant-sex education and this sows the seeds for conflict and entrenched positions. All I would say is that it is all good and well championing SRE, but unless schools are open to the way they teach it and they include parents in decisionmaking, talk of participation in schools, unless you blindly agree with a school’s pre-decided SRE programme, is frankly fanciful.

    • Many thanks for taking the time to comment. SRE isn’t values free but teaching children and young people to explore those values is an essential component of sex education (In fact SRE is defined under three main areas- Knowledge and understanding, attitudes and values and developing personal and social skills). It is entirely possible to do this respectful of different faiths in fact the Sex Education Forum have done some fab work around faith, values and SRE I know its not perfect in many schools but I do hope schools are continually seeking to improve on their provision and work with parents on this important issue.

  2. With all due respect, there are very few schools that reflect the school commmunty in the way they teach SRE. SRE should be taught according to parents’ wishes and reflect the culture of the community the school serves, unfortunately in more cases than not this is not happening. This is not based upon speculation but through finding out (from London’s primary schools) what is being taught, how decisions are made, what part parents play in decisionmaking etc.

    • Unfortunately I don’t have the answers on this. I agree parents should be consulted more and it isn’t always happening, this is partly due to a lack of clear leadership and direction from the government 😦 . I can only speak for my own experience but at my previous school I made sure our SRE policy was up for public consultation and once agreed was on the website available for everyone to see and refer to as a starting point. It was regularly referred to in newsletters and we tried to have a stand at parents evenings to explore the materials etc. I also tried to meet with any parent who was concerned and explore the issues (and many were reassured following those meetings). As a mum I am more than happy for my kids to be shown the living and growing materials as I think a lot of them are very good particularly for the less confident teacher (although in an ideal world all teachers would be more confident with delivering SRE). So I definitely plan on working with my kids’ schools to help develop SRE from perspective as a parent and I would be disappointed if parents views were marginalised as you say they are being.

  3. Thank you for your reply, I would disagree with only one thing, I don’t think it’s about a lack of clear leadership from central government. SRE is agreed locally by schools, they can decide to engage parents or not. What is happening today, for example in Tower Hamlets, is a travesty, this has nothing to do with the government, som schools yes, the local authority absolutely.

    • I totally agree re. content of SRE is being decided by local authority and schools, but we are in a bit of a state of flux with SRE at the minute with the continual lack of updated guidance from the powers that be and I think we do need clearer direction from leadership. I had heard great things on the grapevine about Tower Hamlets work (but admittedly I don’t know details) with parents and local faith communities so sorry that you don’t feel this is the case.

  4. Pingback: Mumsnet sex ed survey- The results | SexEdUKation

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