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AGENDA resource expanded and rolled out to teachers in England

17 April 2019

Emma Renold and school kids

Teachers in England will hear about how they can make use of a resource aimed at giving children and young people a voice on relationships and wellbeing.

Professor Emma Renold of Cardiff University is expanding her work on, ‘AGENDA: a young people’s guide to making positive relationships matter’. The new website will give teachers improved access to a range of rights and equalities based starter activities and case studies to support children and young people to speak out about a range of topics including feelings and emotions; friendships and relationships; body image; consent; gender and sexuality equality and rights and gender-based and sexual violence.

The resource, which has achieved success in Wales and internationally, has been developed further thanks to the support of the National Education Union. Professor Renold is at the organisation’s annual conference in Liverpool today to discuss how teachers in England could use it in the classroom.

“The launch of the new AGENDA online resource will ensure education professionals are confident and equipped to explore a range of sensitive and sometimes challenging subjects,” said Professor Renold, based in the School of Social Sciences.

Listening to and learning from the curiosities and concerns of children and young people’s own lived experiences is vital for a relevant and needs-led curriculum.

Professor EJ Renold Professor of Childhood Studies

It is hoped the website, which goes live later this month, will help teachers in England and Wales as they deliver changes to the relationships and sex education curriculum.

Rosamund McNeil, Assistant General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We are delighted to join the list of partners supporting AGENDA. This is a really practical resource. It's designed to help education professionals support young people to build positive relationships and explore ideas about gender equality, in an age appropriate and inclusive way. Importantly, it supports schools to use the full curriculum to explore healthy relationships and ensure that children and young people can get active on issues of social justice.”

Assistant Head Teacher Kauser Jan, of Bankside Primary School in Leeds, said: “The AGENDA resource will create safe school communities where pupils can grow, learn, and develop positive, healthy behaviour for life. It covers a range of issues that many teachers and schools find a challenge to cover. It has helped me to teach children and deliver sessions to parents and community members, empowering all to understand the need for an inclusive curriculum which challenges misnomers.”

Originally launched in 2016, AGENDA was co-developed with and for young people aged 11-17 and funded by Cardiff University, NSPCC Cymru, Women’s Aid and Welsh Government. It has since been developed for practitioners in both primary and secondary school sectors and offers a range of creative methods such as storytelling and crafting or movement and music to open up discussion and debate.

In its first two years, the resource reached international audiences, from the American launch of an interactive AGENDA toolkit in partnership with the New York-based SPARK Movement, to Valentine Card activisms in Finland.

Professor Renold was Chair of the Minister for Education’s expert panel, ‘The future of the SRE curriculum in Wales’, which concluded that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools is too biological and too negative, with insufficient attention given to rights, gender equity, emotions and relationships. These findings led to a major overhaul of the Wales curriculum.

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