Equalities toolkit to help all children feel valued and respected
Birmingham City Council has developed resources to support schools in teaching relationships and health education at primary schools.
It follows new statutory guidance from the Department for Education and protests at two Birmingham schools – and subsequent misinformation - around teaching of equalities.
This resource includes helpful documents to enable staff and parent consultation, advice for governors, model letters and a set of resources and lesson plans from Year 1 to Year 6, all of which meet the statutory requirements for September 2020.
Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member for equalities and social cohesion, said: “We want all children in Birmingham, whoever they are and whatever family they are from, to feel valued and respected.
“This means they should see themselves reflected in resources used by schools when teaching relationships and health education in primary schools.
“To help teachers do this we have updated our toolkit for teaching equalities and developed a resource that supports primary schools in the statutory teaching of relationships and health education.
“For example, for very young pupils we talk about baking a friendship cake and look at the ingredients – smiles, kindness, sharing and fun.
“For slightly older children we discuss what a community looks like, showing pictures of lots of different people in Birmingham, with different places of worship.
“Other lessons will ask what makes up a family and show how they can be different and how families love and care for each other.
“Our teachers are amazing, and these resources are there to support the fantastic work they do every day and ensure all Birmingham children are prepared for life in a diverse city and country.”
Nelson Mandela primary school in Sparkbrook was involved in putting together the resources and has already delivered some of them while piloting the new toolkit.
Head teacher Azita Zohhadi said: “The toolkit aligns fully with the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools programme; both firmly rooted in building respect and appreciation for diversity and all aspects of equality. The approach strongly embraces openness through the consultation process, giving parents, children and staff a platform to discuss, challenge and listen. We found that this enabled us to build upon the trust we know is essential between school and parents. Using the approach set out clearly in the toolkit we were able to show our parents the breadth of the curriculum and many welcomed this.
“The parents were happy with the lessons and the carefully selected books and resources. The teachers in school felt extremely confident delivering the lessons as they are set out so clearly and they encourage the children to explore relationships and health in an age-appropriate and engaging way. The children have enjoyed their lessons as they fit seamlessly into our curriculum, values and school vision. The RSHE equalities toolkit is much more than a scheme of work - it is a whole school approach which can be used in so many other contexts. It's wonderful.”
Councillor Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: “This is a great example of how we can work together for the benefit of all our children, ensuring they feel valued and prepared for life in a wonderfully diverse city and country. The toolkit supports schools to do this, encouraging children to explore health and relationships in a way that is right for their age. It instils trust between the school and parents, and we are getting really positive feedback from schools that are piloting it. Well done to all involved.”