Testimonial from Vicky Matthews Head Teacher at
New Holland C of E Primary School
Due to a minority of incidents regarding sexualised behaviour and ‘playground talk’ that have concerned the school, as Head of New Holland School, I approached Lynnette Smith early in 2013. As a result, Lynnette has carried out 121 sessions with individual pupils; worked alongside parents; delivered a workshop to parents and delivered lessons throughout the school from Reception to Year 6.
Lynnette worked sensitively with individual families and children and her work has been so effective that there have been no recurring incidents since the sessions have been completed.
As well as working with individuals, Lynnette was then asked to come in and do further work with both parents and the pupils around Body Science, Relationships and Sex Education which is very timely in view of OFSTED’s recent reports and the new Curriculum expectations.
Lynnette began the day with a workshop for parents to offer advice on how to talk to their children about the subject and to also inform the parents on what the children would be learning later that day depending on their age group. This was delivered in an informal style which put the parents at ease. It was also clear that Lynnette had excellent subject knowledge; a wide range of experience and was also very up to date with current research. Parents left the workshop feeling more confident about talking to their children, using the correct terminology and were also given the strong message that it was also about keeping their child safe.
Following the workshop, Lynnette then gave a gentle introduction to the younger children in school (Reception- Year 3). Body parts and the differences between girls and boys were discussed, and most importantly, they were taught what was appropriate and inappropriate touching in a child-friendly way, in order to keep them safe.
For the older children, as well as the above, children were informed about how babies were made and born; puberty and the concerns surrounding technology and the media.
These sessions were delivered very professionally at the children’s level and high quality learning, well-being and safeguarding messages were the end result.
I cannot praise Lynnette enough. There needs to be a ‘Lynnette Smith’ visiting all schools (and all year groups) at least on an annual basis. I highly recommend her and will definitely be calling on her services again in the near future: children are better informed and protected because of the commitment and valuable work Lynnette does.
24th May 2013
Testimonial from Gail Young Head Teacher at Vale Academy
Sex Education is hugely important to The Vale Academy. We believe that the responsibility for this is a shared one between academies and schools and parents and carers. It is vital to the appropriate development of all young people; we must keep them informed, safe, healthy and happy. This is especially important because of the rapidly changing lifestyle and choices that young adults now face compared to those we may have had at a similar age and because of their exposure to different forms of media. It is important that students are taught how to cope with and handle their own sexual feelings, their urges and their potential exposure to drugs.
Therefore, in order to keep our students safe, The Vale Academy works with outside agencies such as Big Talk : Lynnette Smith and her team regularly come into The Vale Academy to discuss topics and issues dealing with many aspects of young adult life. These include personal safety and risk taking; relationships and sexuality; infections and protection; relationships and parenthood. Having an outside agency such as Big Talk to work with The Vale Academy and its students means that we know our students are receiving up to date information about what is happening in our local area and, more importantly, about the specific areas of risk that our students may encounter and how to deal with them.
"Protecting Children from Early Sexualisation"
What people are saying about the course…
"Excellent course content, up to the minute subject matter for an area which is a huge concern for us, I will be able to train my own Staff and also be able to support/challenge Parents about this. I’ve done a lot of Child Protection and Safeguarding Training but nothing like this" Sarah Briggs Deputy Head Bude Park Primary Hull
“Excellent content, informative and pacy. Will feedback to Staff and arrange Parent Training” Deputy Head Bessacarr Doncaster
“Brilliant content” Nick, Family Support Worker HMP Prison Peterborough
“Brilliantly informative! We all have all come across it, now we know what to do! Clare Buzz Project Sheffield
“The day flowed well, good pace and interest level. Will be discussing this with School Governors regarding Policy” Head Teacher Lincoln Gardens Primary Scunthorpe.
“Excellent content, interesting, relevant, insightful, the topic is mind blowing” School Governor, Catholic Academy
“Lynnette is an excellent trainer and has a reassuring approach to what could be a sensitive area” PSHE Advances Skills Teacher North Lincolnshire
‘Excellent course, informative, clear and concise content’ Marion Deeley Parenting Coordinator Peterborough City Council
“Lynnette’s no-nonsense passionate caring and common sense approach both demystifies sex and relationship education and offers a ray of light in what can seem in this day and age a very dark place” Faye Smith ,Mum of tweenage daughter and teenage son, Sheffield
"Absolutely brilliant course content, very informative and useful, opened my eyes. It will enable me to confidently talk to Staff, Children and Parents" Tina Page Pearson Primary, Family Support Worker. Hull
Excellent Course Content Liz Wilson Training Manager, Sheffield Centre for HIV & Sexual Health
Big Talk Education - helping parents to keep their children safe from harm and abuse.
The idea of talking to children and young people about their bodies should be relatively straightforward; that is until it comes to the subject of sex, babies, puberty etc. Some would say that it's not the actual subject matter itself but how, as parents, we explain it to our kids without saying too much or, worst of all, encouraging early or casual sexual activity! Many parents would probably put their fears down to being naturally protective or unsure about what terminology and level of information they should be imparting.
Under the Parenting Support element of Extended Services parents have some extra help in dealing with parenting issues, including the subject of relationships and sex. To complement the information and education children and young people receive in school, parents are being encouraged to talk more to their children about their bodies. This not only reinforces knowledge and understanding about biological functions but also enables them to understand changes and differences by talking within their own family. Plus, there is one other very important factor; helping to keep them safe from harm and abuse.
Big Talk Education trainer Lynnette Smith has for several years now been promoting the notion that encouraging open dialogue with children teaches them that it's ok to know and talk about their bodies, and that this approach has been shown to help protect them from abuse and early sexual activity. One reason for this is because children are much less likely to be vulnerable to abuse if they have the confidence to be able to talk openly within their families and, if they are approached inappropriately or targeted by an abuser, they are able to describe any events that took place more accurately.
Parents who also have teenagers are being encouraged to find out what is being covered in School, Lynnette can offer practical ways for parents to support them in responding and handling peer pressure.
Parents within the Scunthorpe North locality recently attended courses delivered by Lynnette and all the feedback was positive. Parents reported reassurance in what they were doing and also how the sessions had enabled them to learn more about things like sexually transmitted infections, be updated about the modern methods of contraception and find out which books they could buy to help them talk to their children about their bodies.
Some comments received in the evaluations:
'It has reassured me that I am doing the right thing'
'It was good to be able to discuss things I was concerned about'
'Opened my eyes to a lot about I didn't know'
'has made me more aware of the content of sexual education within schools'
'made me more aware of how and when to approach my children with sex education'
'I found the course really interesting and informative. I feel much more informed about things my children will experience as they are growing up or where to find further information should we need it'
'more confident in talking to my children and that I'm the person to do that'
'I have found it easier in being more open talking with my daughter and it will help me with other questions in the future'
"HELPING TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE" AND THE AMBASSADOR PROGRAMME
We have been working with Lynnette Smith for approximately three years. I first met Lynnette when I was working for Sure Start Children's Centres and was fortunate enough to be able to attend her two day training for staff. She also delivered training for Sure Start parents, which was very positively received.
I firmly believe in the importance of the training Lynnette delivers, so when I moved to FLUENT COACHING, I suggested to my colleague, Jayne Chudley, that we should try and include Lynnette in our Ambassador Programme. The Ambassador is essentially a confidence building course, "first rung of the ladder", covering a variety of topics, some of which are delivered by the tutor and some of which are delivered by specialist speakers. We work closely with Children's Centres, schools and community groups, and the vast majority of our learners are parents so we felt Lynnette's training would fit perfectly into the course.
Initially Lynnette delivered "Keeping your Children Safe" session on the Ambassador Programme. The sessions were to encourage parents to talk to their children about body science, the changes to their bodies, and be able to answer their questions about sex in an age appropriate way. The aim of this is to ensure children know how to keep themselves and their bodies safe, and also that a relationship of trust is built between the parent and child. We hope that the child will then always feel able to confide in their parent and grow up safe and educated about sex and relationships.
Lynnette's session very quickly became an integral part of the Ambassador Programme, and gave the parents the confidence to talk to their children about this issue. Some of the parents have also challenged other family members who may have contradictory thoughts about talking to children about sex and relationships. The parents have been very positive about the sessions and have often commented that they would not have raised the subject with their children before speaking to Lynnette, but now realise the importance of doing so. Many of them have also bought books from the reading list (or borrowed them from the library) to help them approach the subject with their children.
The sessions have worked extremely well as the learners receive a great deal of information and 'food for thought' at the first session, they are then encouraged to go home and talk to their children and families. At the session the following week they have an opportunity to feedback to Lynnette and ask any further questions, as well as receive more information. As some learners can initially find this topic difficult to discuss, they are able to build a relationship with Lynnette over the two sessions and by the second session they all talk openly and feel much more confident.
I cannot advocate the ""Keeping your Children Safe" sessions Lynnette delivers enough. She is approachable, down to earth and is obviously very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. All the evaluations and feedback we receive about Lynnette and her sessions are positive. To date Lynnette has delivered numerous sessions for us across North and North East Lincolnshire learners have completed evaluation forms and the majority of these have rated her sessions as "excellent". Lynnette has also delivered Sex and Relationship sessions to teenagers we work with, who have been excluded (or are at risk of being excluded) from mainstream education. These have also worked very well.
As well as observing Lynnette during Ambassador Programmes I have been a tutor on, I also have a 10 year old daughter myself and have learned an immense amount to help me as a parent. I have discussed sex and relationships with my daughter over a period of time now, and bought her a couple of the books. She now approaches me with questions (without embarrassment), has no qualms about her school sex education lessons, and is generally very mature about discussing anything related to sex and growing up. I firmly believe that this is because I have followed Lynnette's suggestions.
We will continue to use Lynnette for the Ambassador Programme as long as she is happy to work with us, and will also continue to spread the "Keeping your Children Safe" message as far as we can.
I hope this information is useful and myself or my colleague, Jayne Chudley, would be happy to answer any questions or provide any further details.
SARAH HNATYSZYN, training manager for Fluent Training
Case-study: SRE book list for parents
North Lincolnshire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership working together with "BigTalk Education" have produced a recommended book list for parents and carers, children and teenagers covering topics to do with body science, sex and relationships. The book titles for younger children such as 'Let's talk' and 'Body Science' are suitable for parents to read with their children. All the titles are available to borrow for free from local libraries and are stocked by local book-shops.
Primary schools have promoted the book list to parents and carers as part of an evening session about SRE that explains what the school will teach and how parents can support learning. Sessions run by BigTalk Education are also offered to parents at Community and Children's Centres on keeping your children safe. The sessions cover how to talk to your children about body science, relationships and sex, stressing the importance of starting early in order to keep them safe.
How my ERS Training helped me on both a Professional and Personal level
I just wanted to tell you how attending the training has been really useful both in my Professional role and on a personal level with my own children. Because of the 2 day training I felt able to speak with confidence to the parents on how to answer "difficult questions" on you know what!
One parent approached me saying that her son wouldn’t stop pulling and touching his tail, it was making her feel very uncomfortable and she didn’t know what to do, he is 6 years old and she had been telling him to "Pack it in or it would fall off" After a chat about the situation it seemed that he was doing it mostly in the bath and sometimes at bedtime, just hearing that it is normal seemed to relax her, she said she was going to try and ignore it and not make any more comments to him when he did it, a couple of weeks later she said that he wasn’t doing it half as much and he now knows that the correct name for his tail is penis! The parent did thank me and said she felt much better just talking about it and said it wasn’t such a big deal after all.
I had always fluffed over where babies came from with my two daughters aged 8 and 5 until my ERS training, it made me realise how it was me that needed to change this as I wasn’t being honest with them. We went on to have another little girl and when she asked questions I answered them the best I could at her level. She was on the loo one day and she was having a poo, she said she was pushing it out of her bottom and not her vagina because that was where babies came from! She jumped off the loo, washed her hand and skipped off downstairs, a few years ago I would have been horrified, but knowing what I know now I am sure that being honest and open is the best policy. She was 4 when she did this, she didn’t go on about it, she wasn’t saying it for a reaction, she just said it, like she would say, " I brushed my teeth like Daddy does".
My ERS training was very enjoyable, it really changed my husbands way of thinking too, Our eldest daughter is in secondary school now Year 8 and recently spoke about STD with me whilst I was doing her hair, he overheard her and later said that he thought it was good that she could talk to me and knew about such things.
Rebecca Lecke Sure Start/Children’s Centre Member of Staff
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