Build Positive Relationships & become Pro-Active
It is important to approach your child’s school in a proactive manner and find out what your child is learning and to build positive relationships with the head teacher, teachers and staff in order to become a part of the school community. Examples of ways to become involved include joining the PTA (Parent Teachers Association) or volunteering some time e.g. helping out with reading; cake sales etc.
Form a Support Group with other Parents
You can speak to other parents in your school and form a group with those who want to find out more or who share your concerns about RSE. It can be helpful to also set up a WhatsApp group so you can all stay in touch as well as meet face-to-face.
You can create awareness of RSE within your school by speaking to parents and sharing information.
It may be an idea to select one or two parents to be advocates for the group. These parents should feel confident in talking to people in authority e.g. head teacher; chair of governors and so on. It will be important that they understand the situation regarding RSE and be aware of parent’s rights.
Arrange a Meeting with the Head teacher to Find Out More
Whether as an individual or as a group, the first step after educating yourself about RSE and your rights will be to arrange a meeting with the head teacher. At this meeting you can ask any questions you have such as when will the school start teaching RSE, have they developed a policy, as well as inform them that you as parents wish to become involved and have the right to be consulted. It will also be important to state that you wish to be involved at all stages and kept informed of what your child is learning regarding RSE.
Arrange a Consultation between the School and Parents
Following on from the initial meeting it will be essential to arrange for a consultation between parents and the school. It is here that you can raise any concerns and share your views and opinions. In particular a discussion about which topics and resources are considered age-appropriate should be had. You can also discuss how schools will keep parents updated about what their child will learn and when. The RSE guidelines state that schools must consider the religious background of pupils and also that all schools can teach faith views on RSE topics. It is essential that parents voice and discuss these matters.
Consider becoming a Parent Governor
You could also consider becoming a Parent Governor – governors have a lot of influence on the school and will be responsible for approving the RSE curriculum and resources. You will therefore be able to have some impact on how Relationship Ed/RSE will be taught in the school. Find out from the school how to go about becoming a parent governor.
If you Encounter Problems
Most schools work constructively and in partnership with parents. However, in some cases, parents may encounter problems. If this happens then seek to speak to the head to try to resolve the issue. You can also speak to the chair of governors and if there are still issues then you can make a formal complaint. If your legal rights are not being respected you can seek legal advice.