Most parents are very supportive of schools providing relationships and sex education, and also want to play a part in educating their children at home.
- 78% of parents want primary schools to teach their children about the difference between safe and unwanted touch and how to speak up if someone treats them inappropriately, 11% did not want primary schools to teach this and 11% ‘did not know’ (Independent poll of 1000 parents, Sex Education Forum, 2014).
- 72% of parents think primary schools should teach children about what to do if they find pictures showing private parts of the body online or are asked to send them. (Independent poll of 1000 parents, Sex Education Forum, 2014).
- 92% of parents support the teaching of PSHE education (which includes lessons about staying safe from abuse) in all schools (YouGov poll, PSHE Association, 2016)
Young people say that school is their preferred first choice for RSE, followed by their parents, but currently many parents are falling short in providing RSE at home:
- For boys, the main source of sex education while growing up is school (39%), followed by friends (24%), with fathers accounting for 3% and mothers 4%.
Effective RSE is a partnership between parents and schools. Parents need to be given adequate information about what is taught and when. School-home communication about RSE should start early so that parents can anticipate topics covered at school and make their own timely input or follow up at home. And parents have just as much right to expect good quality teaching in RSE as in other subjects.
- 80% of parents think RSE teachers should be trained to teach it (Independent poll of 1000 parents, Sex Education Forum, 2018).
To fully meet the needs of children and young people there is a need for proactive support for parents and carers to have an active role in providing RSE at home, and improved and ongoing home-school RSE communication can make an important contribution to this.