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Engaging parents with RSHE

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Oswestry School in Shropshire uses Discovery Education Health and Relationships to deliver the statutory RSHE Curriculum. Head of Prep School Claire Belk shares how the programme gives teachers complete support, especially when it comes to engaging parents.

We switched to Discovery Education Health and Relationships from another provider earlier this year. We wanted a complete RSHE resource with everything in one place. Health and Relationships is easier to use because you don’t have to leave the platform to look for additional resources. It also provides fantastic teaching support in terms of planning, delivery and training for staff. As a product, it ticks so many boxes for us.

One of the best things about Health and Relationships is that it supported us to talk to parents about the new curriculum. RSHE is a fundamentally important part of children’s learning but, understandably, some parents feel hesitant about some of the necessary but sensitive content. It’s therefore important that the lines of parental communication are kept open. We found that, once we’d explained what we were going to be teaching and why, parents were reassured and appreciative. Consequently, they felt they could also support and reinforce their child’s learning at home.

Engaging parents in your RSHE curriculum

We all know that effective Relationships and Health Education is best delivered in partnership with parents to reassure them of the content and delivery of the programme. But this can be easier said than done.

Hear from Oswestry Primary School about the approach they took – what worked well and what they could have done differently.

Discovery Education Health and Relationships is well resourced to help schools engage parents with the new RSHE curriculum. It includes high quality presentations detailing what teachers will be teaching, along with useful resources such as template letters to support ongoing communication. It also includes suggestions on how you might answer tricky parents’ questions. For us, it couldn’t have been easier as everything was at our fingertips.

Recently we used the resources to host a virtual parent meeting where we shared our new RSHE curriculum. We started by giving an overview of Health and Relationships and then used breakout rooms to give a preview of what would be taught in each year group. Teachers were able to run through the programme and answer specific questions relating to their year group. Our parents were very impressed with the programme and particularly loved the video-led approach. It was even better received than we hoped!

It’s natural for parents to have questions about RSHE, and Health and Relationships helps us to address these. It means that we can easily show parents what is being taught and explain why. Health and Relationships gives our school a robust RSHE curriculum. We can see exactly what should be delivered to pupils at each stage and this helps us to get it right for the children. It also helps with parental engagement because they are reassured by the age appropriateness of the material and there is clear reasoning behind each new topic or learning stage.

Health and Relationships covers the sensitive areas of RSHE very well. By using child-led videos, it presents tricky topics in a way which is non-threatening. The children who present the videos are fantastic role models and our pupils can really relate to them. It’s so much more effective than using puppets or cartoons. In Year 6 for example, we see a boy talking confidently about periods. This is exactly what children need to see. It deflates any self-consciousness because they see real children talking about it. And, it gets the message across that no one should feel embarrassed about puberty.

One of the main things we’ve stressed to parents is the importance of a safe learning environment for delivering RSHE. Parents do have the right to withdraw their child from sex education, but in doing so they run the risk of allowing them to discover information away from the safety of the classroom, for example, in the playground or on the internet. Health and Relationships supports us to create a very safe teaching and learning environment by clearly setting out the principles for doing so and also guides teachers on how to approach sensitive topics.

Discovery Education Health and Relationships follows a spiral curriculum and the children’s learning builds year upon year. Our parents are very reassured by this approach. They like the fact that we revisit different topics, and that the content is age appropriate. We found this spiral approach particularly useful post lockdown, when we had to cover a lot of ground. The way in which Health and Relationship is structured meant that we could easily dip into previous years where we felt that the children needed more support to understand the content for their year group.

Recently we received an inspection and the RSHE provision was rated highly in our junior school. Because we are using Health and Relationships, we were able to quickly demonstrate that we are fully meeting the statutory requirements and supporting the needs of our whole school community: pupils, staff and parents.

In summary, we’re very pleased that we came across Health and Relationships. It’s a high quality resource that enables us to deliver an excellent programme of relationships and health education for our children. We rate it very highly indeed.

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