Parent plan could help stop LGBT protests, charity says

Parentkind is launching a new national framework to support schools to engage with parents and their community

John Roberts

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A new plan to promote parent-friendly schools could help prevent tensions rising about relationships and sex education lessons, campaigners have said.

Parentkind is consulting on a new blueprint for how schools should engage with parents of pupils and plans to launch a national framework next year.

Ruth Lowe, Parentkind’s external affairs manager, said the document could help schools preparing for compulsory relationship education lessons which are being introduced next year.

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LGBT lessons have been the source of ongoing protests involving parents at Birmingham primary schools over the past three months.

Parkfield Community school – the school where the protests started – yesterday announced that it will resume with a modified version of its No Outsiders programme in September.

The government is making relationship education mandatory in primary schools from next year.

Ms Lowe told Tes she couldn’t comment on the specific schools involved in the Birmingham protests but said she did believe Parentkind could help schools to prevent tensions from escalating around relationship education. 

She said: “It could really help schools and not just around LGBT.

“I think the new blueprint could help schools on relationship education where the government have said schools are expected to consult with parents. 

“There are a couple of sections in our new blueprint which are relevant to this, effective two-way communication, parental involvement in school life and community engagement.

“Effective two-way communication is really important. It is what allows a relationship of trust to develop that enables schools and parents to work in partnership in support of the child’s learning journey. 

“This relationship of trust is vital in enabling some potentially challenging conversations to take place.”

Asked whether it could prevent future LGBT protests, she added: "The blueprint enables schools and parents to develop and maintain relationships based on trust and partnership.

"It can never, on its own, be a guarantee that people won’t protest in future and will only ever be as good as the people who use it - but those who do will surely see the positive outcomes. In fact many already do."

Parentkind, which was formerly PTA UK, is consulting on a blueprint for parent-friendly schools focused on five areas:

  • Leadership, ethos and resources
  • Effective two-way communication
  • Parents supporting learning
  • Parental involvement in school life
  • Community engagement

It is consulting on its plans until August and will formally launch the blueprint for parent-friendly schools next year.

It then plans to award accreditation to parent-friendly schools from 2021.

Education secretary Damian Hinds has said schools will be required to consult with parents on their policies for relationship education. 

However, he has also told heads there is no parental veto on what schools should decide to teach.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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