Pre-View - Parent Researched Education Valuing Involvement, Empowerment and Wisdom

Operational experience and monitoring data from the Healthy Schools Programme in London Borough of Hillingdon has highlighted gaps in school confidence in engaging parents in support of their children's learning. This problem is particularly evident with regard to engagement in Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). This problem is increased by inconsistencies in school planning and provision of SRE learning activities.

Hillingdon School Library Service provides boxes of books to schools on a range of topics to support teachers in their delivery. The books are based on librarian selection, with little qualitative feedback from schools as to how appropriate the books are. The gap in informed procurement and use of SRE materials is recognised by the School Library Service, particularly with regard to reading materials that support SRE in primary schools.

Pre-view aims to integrate parental engagement with curriculum development and develop capacity to deliver SRE/PSHE that is valued by communities, schools and children. It focuses on valuing and developing parental skills and relationships as an informal learning resource to develop long term resilience in relation to factors that adversely affect Teenage Pregnancy rates.

The Pre-view method was originally developed with two primary schools and uses an action learning approach towards the integration of the way the School Library Service obtains and provides the resources for sex and relationships education (SRE) with parent/ community engagement and promotion of health literacy. The process enables parental participation in reading and assessment of materials and provides opportunities to discuss the issues raised in informal learning groups. Supported by a specialist health adviser, the approach creates a climate in which parents are able to gain confidence in discussing SRE issues with their children within the context of a wider understanding of PSHE Education. The experience of the parents is used to inform the development of SRE/PSHE work in the school and the procurement of relevant materials by the Schools Library Service.

Since the programme started in 2009, 8 staff have been trained to run Pre-view independently. A total of 56 parents have been involved in Preview groups in 6 primary schools.  A Health Promotion Advisor facilitated meetings and around 80 - 100 books have been reviewed. Several primary schools have shown interest in the programme and planning to implement Preview in their school.

Pre-view has delivered anticipated outcomes in terms of improvement in parental/school engagement and informed selection of SRE/PSHE learning resources. Additionally, the pilot has shown potential for raising parental confidence in relating to their children on issues addressed by the SRE/PSHE curricula and on issues raised by children.

Outcomes - expected

  • raised confidence among parents in discussing SRE issues with support from books
  • raised understanding for the subject SRE and PSHE among parents
  • enhanced relationship between school, teachers and parents
  • List of books to be used as a resource to support other parents

Outcomes - unexpected

  • The parents that participated in Preview, at 3 schools, have expressed their wish to continue to support the school in the improvement of SRE delivery.
  • Spontaneous conversations with HPA about how to support their child/ren in their development
  • Parents requested to be involved in the curriculum planning for PSHE and SRE
  • School more confident to deliver SRE at all Key Stages
  • Parents advised school to facilitate parent-child support meetings
  • Parents have requested to be more involved in the informal learning in schools

Quotations from parents

"I feel strongly that parents are involved in knowing what will be discussed at school during SRE. I think the idea of having books to deal with specific issues at hand is a great idea"

"I have found these sessions to be very interesting and informative. I felt quite relaxed about broaching this subject with my children before the sessions. I now feel relaxed and more informed. It was interesting to hear about what specific issues will be discussed in each year group."

"I felt that books as a source of information is being underused in the subject (SRE). We mainly think about DVD and whatever is being taught in the classroom, while books can be a great reinforcement to the previous methods as the child can read it at home when he is more relaxed and has more time to think about things and has the chance to ask his parents some questions"

or more information contact: Malin Stenstrom (MStenstrom@hillingdon.gov.uk)