Since Relationships Education became statutory in primary schools in 2020, we have often been asked to expand our Esteem program to include sessions for Primary-aged children – so this is what we are doing!
Schools tell us that many of the resources available for Primary Relationships Education are out-of-date, so not equipping children to grow up in our digital world. One Primary School Head emailed us last year saying, “We have urgent need! Even if you can just recommend any resources for us to discuss puberty with them.” Many teachers feel untrained and ill-equipped.
The strong need for a primary curriculum is also evident from our own engagement with Year 7 pupils (aged 11), who have just transitioned from primary to secondary. We’re often shocked by their lack of knowledge about their bodies and puberty, low levels of self-esteem, and harmful attitudes around relationships and sex. We also see them struggling to build positive friendships and to navigate social media. We were particularly heartbroken in one lesson to hear a boy (aged 11) insist that girls like sex to be aggressive.
Our schools worker, Rachel, previously worked as a primary school teacher and has been taking the lead in developing materials for primary and has now started testing these in schools. This testing stage is important so that we get feedback from children and teachers about what works well and what needs to be improved.
Recently, Rachel went into a primary school in Wembley and was able to combine a few tried and tested Esteem activities such as the self-esteem shield along with some new activities on self-control choices. One student said that they ‘had fun and the interesting activities encouraged me and made me feel good.’
As our primary program will span KS1 and KS2, there is a lot to cover in terms of topics and objectives set out by the statutory guidance, so the full development will take some time. The expectation is that the program will be added to whilst we test in schools, as it will become more obvious which gaps need to be filled.
For instance, Rachel has spent time developing activities on the topic of periods as this is an important part of puberty which often needs coverage by year 4 onwards. We want to encourage girls to feel more confident about what is happening to them.
* If you work at a London primary school and would like to take part in our program piloting, please email us at email@example.com.
This project has been made possible by a generous grant from: