Steps 2 Action
Below are some suggestions of steps that can be taken, to help resist or have some say in, if and how, RSE will be taught in your school. Also provided are some suggestions for how to protect your child as much as possible from the teachings regarding RSE that are already in schools and in society at large.
Start with Yourself
Reflect on your priorities: keeping on top of your child’s upbringing, schooling as well as what children are exposed to in society is a full time job! In many families both parents work – discuss with your spouse how you can ensure the protection and Islamic upbringing of your child. If one parent can stay at home then that is the best outcome; if not – can one parent work part-time etc. Sit with your spouse and discuss your priorities. For single parents it is harder; think about support you can access to help you.
Educate yourself: about your Islamic duty as a parent; about RSE ins schools; RSE from an Islamic perspective.
Manage your anxieties towards educating your child in RSE topics. It is completely normal to feel fear, embarrassment, nauseous etc. at the thought of talking to your child about RSE matters. Think about how your parents talked (or not) to you about RSE matters and what you would do the same or most likely differently. Talk these things through with a friend or confident who you trust. Read relevant articles on this site to help you.
Create a positive & loving family environment as this will help your child feel safe and secure and come to you as the first port of call in both religious and RSE matters. Examples of activities that can help foster connection and communication include:
- Family meals
- Family activities & outings
- Family meetings where each member can voice any concerns, hopes, opinions etc.
Build a strong relationship with your child: build a relationship through doing fun activities, talking over meals, walks etc, find out about them; what they like, are interested in etc. This will help you have more influence over your child than what they learn at school or in society. It will also make it easier to talk with them about RSE topics when the time is appropriate.
- Spend 121 time together
- Do fun activities together
- Make time to listen & talk
- Tell them that you are available to talk about anything – not to be worried or embarrassed regardless of what they want to talk to you about.
Educate your child first: remember you are your child’s primary educator so teach them:
- In Islamic teachings & values
- In general knowledge
- In RSE topics from an Islamic perspective
Consider Home Education as an alternative to school – especially in the early years which are the most influential and formative for your child.
Your Faith Community
Build relationships with Muslim families & children.
- Establish strong friendships between your child and other muslim children with similar values. These friendships should be fostered throughout their lives as peers have a great effect on each other, especially during adolescence.
- Build identity: by spending time with other Muslim families as it will help strengthen your child’s identity and help them hold firmly to their values when they encounter opposing views. This is important when your child at school sees other children with same-sex parents; children exploring gender identity and engaging in causal sexual relationships.
Build a sense of community and organise activities e.g. residential camps; outings and fun activities with other Muslim families.
Form support groups with other parents to discuss about RSE and how to teach your children RSE from an Islamic perspective.
Organise workshops or invite guest speakers to talk about different areas related to RSE in general and from an Islamic perspective.
Build relationships with your child’s teacher; the head teacher and governors. Find out who will teach RE/RSE and talk to them about your concerns and religious values.
Join the PTA (parents & teachers association) and consider becoming a parent governor. The more involved you become the more likely you are to have an influence on school policy regarding RE/RSE.
Volunteer e.g. reading support; help out with arts week, interfaith events. It is important to become involved with the school in a positive way, so that way the school are more likely to listen to you when you voice your concerns.
Help out at events e.g. cake sales; summer fairs; fundraising events.
Write to your school expressing your concerns about RE/RSE & ask to be informed and involved at all stages of policy development.
Ask to see the resources the school proposes to use for RSE; ask how, when and where RE/RSE will be taught. You need to be informed and updated about RE/RSE in your school at each stage as your child progresses through the year groups.
Offer to make RE/RSE resources the school can use. Schools will either have to make their own resources or buy them in; if you make your own you are helping the school out and ensuring you have some control over the resources being used.
Exercise your right to withdraw your child from SRE/RSE. Explain your reasons to the school and to your child so that they understand.
Group together with other parents who share the same concerns, as a collective voice will more likely be listened to.
Consider sending your child to a faith school, ideally Islamic but otherwise Church of England or Catholic schools that share similar values. However check out their views on RE/RSE and how they will teach it first.
Donate some Islamic children books (e.g. on hijab, marriage, morals etc) to the school. There are numerous books teaching children about lifestyles at odds with Islam; but donating Islamic books to your child’s school you can help provide another viewpoint (see Resources section for some ideas).
Your Local Community
Connect with parents, local groups and faith groups who share the same concerns about the compulsory introduction of RE/RSE:
- Hold meetings to raise awareness and discuss a way forward about what you can do. Utilise people’s experiences and skill sets to devise and action a plan.
- Invite guest speakers who can provide relevant information and experience
Your Larger Community
Write to your MP and/or the Education Secretary expressing your concerns and asking for the right to withdraw your child from all aspects of RE/RSE that contradict your religious beliefs and morals.
Sign Petitions: sign the petition on this site to give parent’s the right to withdraw their child from RE/RSE; sign other relevant petitions.
Engage in debate: talk to people you meet to help create awareness about RE/RSE and hear other people’s opinions. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand as well as allow others to hear your views.
Keep updated about developments and changes in legislation surrounding RE/RSE and in RSE issues/topics that may be introduced into the curriculum.
Your Global Community
Think big! The compulsory introduction of comprehensive sexuality education is a global movement and effects everyone.
- If you have family or friends outside the UK, speak to them and encourage them to look into what is being taught in their own child’s school with regards to sexuality education and to find out what rights they have as parents to withdraw their child from this.
- Inform friends & family outside the UK about the global CSE agenda.
- Use platforms such as social media and other forms of media to help create awareness and provide information about solutions. Produce high quality Islamic resources such as story books, videos, workshops etc that the Muslim community can use to help teach RE/RSE topics from an Islamic perspective.