The Department for Education have published guidance for Primary schools on parental engagement in Relationships Education. The document helps to clarify what is expected in terms of engagement/consultation with parents and carers in preparation for September 2020. The full document can be downloaded here and below are some key points:-
I know that for many schools consulting on this type of policy is established practice. It can be a vital way to ensure there is a shared understanding of how and when these sometimes sensitive and controversial topics will be covered.
Effective engagement will help to overcome some of the myths which surround PSHE education. It is a unique aspect of the subject that parents and carers can worry that content in these subjects will be unsuitable for their children. It is therefore vital that parents are given the opportunity to see how the curriculum is appropriately matched to the age and needs of the children. It is also useful for them to understand the wider aims of the subject and how this fits into the broad and balanced education the school offers.
Before this type of vision can be effectively shared with parents and carers it is important that staff in school are clear on the intention, implementation and impact of PSHE education. During this academic year it would be useful to take time to ensure this is fully explored with staff and to seek the views of children and young people. The ideas and information gathered can then be shared with parents and carers and their views and ideas sought. This will provide a firm basis for effective engagement where parents and carers feel that their views are listened to and taken seriously but also understand that ultimately the school make the final decision on what is taught.
It is also important to recognise that this type of engagement should be conducted regularly. The population of a school changes over time as do the issues for children and young people. It is therefore suggested that a formal engagement process occurs every three years. Obviously if there are significant changes to national requirements or other issues which arise this might need to be more frequent.
If you would like support for your school on this or other aspects of Relationships Education please contact me.