July 3, 2022
Ask Your School Campaign
The new Curriculum for Wales will be taught in all primary and most secondary schools in Wales from September. Under this new curriculum Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) will be compulsory. Parents will not be able to withdraw their children from these lessons. So it’s important that you are fully informed about what your child is being taught, who will be delivering it and the kinds of resources that will be used.
It’s intended that each school will develop their own curriculum and that they consult with parents, carers, and with children and young people about what will be taught. With such a sensitive subject area, this needs to be handled carefully. Issues such as safeguarding are crucial as is making sure that information is scientifically and legally accurate. However, this is not always happening, particularly when schools use third-party providers and external resources.
Members of the Westminster Government are raising concerns about resources used to teach RSE. But here in Wales, the Government takes no responsibility for the questionable content of AGENDA and CRUSH educational packs, despite the former displaying the Welsh Government logo. In fact, CRUSH is currently being used to train teachers across Wales in preparation for the new curriculum.
Both heavily criticised resources were authored by the Chair of the RSE Expert Panel. These resources are written within the academic contexts of Queer and Gender Theory and Sex Positivity. They promote self-identified gender above biological sex and include definitions of key terms that differ from those of the Equality Act 2010.
Many other providers take a similar ideological rather than an evidence-based approach to issues of sex and gender, suggesting for example that there are more than two sexes, or that women can have penises. Many of the resources are age-inappropriate. Most ignore issues of safeguarding, others actively work to dismantle boundaries – particularly but not exclusively in relation to female pupils.
If you share any of these concerns, take action now: ASK YOUR SCHOOL!
HERE’S ALL THE HELP YOU NEED!
- A briefing focusing on the issues most frequently raised by parents and pupils
- A template email/letter for contacting your school.
- Tips for getting the most out of your meeting.
- Advice about what to do if you still have concerns.
- Links to other resources.
This briefing covers:
- What to ask.
- Why you need to ask it.
- What you should expect.
We’ve focused on the issues most frequently raised by parents and pupils.
Download our letter here in English and Welsh.
Please edit according to your needs before sending.
- Ask to meet in-person, ideally with the headteacher, the RSE lead and the school safeguarding lead so that the issues you raise can be dealt with there and then.
- If they are reluctant to meet with you, it’s fine to keep asking.
- If you know other parents are concerned, ask for a meeting as a group. Many parents and pupils are concerned about RSE; if you are representing a range of voices it will be harder to dismiss your concerns.
- Make a list of questions to ask and points you want to make in advance. You can use personal stories and evidence from your own experience to back these up, supported by research and statistics.
- Think about what you would like the outcome to be and if you don’t feel reassured by the meeting ask for further information or say you will get back to them.
- Please let us know how you get on. We’ll collate that information and use it to strengthen the campaign. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advice for follow-up
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE ANSWERS YOU GET?
- Put your complaint in writing. Be specific regarding the policy or rights which are being ignored. Give a date by when you wish to receive a reply.
- Copy it to the chair of the governors, to your Senedd members (you have five, one in the constituency and four regional representatives) and Education Minister Jeremy Miles(Correspondence.Jeremy.Miles@gov.wales).
- Ideally, ask for a meeting with the chair of the school governors.
- Send a copy to Merched Cymru so that we can collate the information and share updates.
IF YOU DON’T GET A RESPONSE…
- If you’ve not received a reply within 2-3 weeks – ask again.
- If you still don’t get a reply, go through the official complaints system.
Schools have an obligation to liaise with parents and carers on this topic and it is reasonable and responsible of parents to seek to be informed.
Links and resources
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT RSE RESOURCES & PROVIDERS
- Transcript of Parliamentary debate on RSE 30 on June 2022. Miriam Cates opens the debate with a review of problematic resources being used in schools across the UK; Robin Millar (Aberconwy) responds at 3.52. One of the books she cited as having problematic content has been distributed to schools across Wales.
- Safe Schools Alliance and Transgender Trend have produced excellent guidance on resources and providers:
- Safe Schools Alliance have covered RSE content including All About Me, Bish, Diversity Role Models, Do… RSE, Educate and Celebrate, Equaliteach, Jigsaw, The Proud Trust, Respect Yourself, Sexplain and Stonewall.
- Transgender Trend’s ‘Inclusive Relationships and Sex Education in Schools (RSE): Statutory Guidance and External Providers’ analyses resources from the PHSE Association, Sex Education Forum and Brook, along with a number of other providers.
- Report on the safeguarding implications of transgender guidance used in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
ADVICE FOR FOLLOW-UP
- Safe Schools Alliance have listed a number of possible responses by the school and provided follow-up advice for parents, most of which are applicable to Wales.
- Supporting gender non-conforming and trans-identified students in schools. Transgender Trend schools’ guidance.
- Advice on social transitioning of trans-identified children from Safe Schools Alliance
Humanise: A resource for RSE teachers with curriculum ideas and opportunities to contribute.