Primary AGENDA launched

A toolkit to help children explore issues around positive relationships has been launched today.

Professor Emma Renold, of Cardiff University, has developed Primary AGENDA, a free resource for teachers and educational practitioners. Aimed at children aged 7-11, it contains starter activities and case studies which teachers can adapt to help children explore a variety of topics including feelings and emotions; friendships and relationships; body image; consent; gender and sexuality equality and rights.

From 2022, a new inclusive, holistic and empowering Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) will be embedded in the Welsh curriculum on a statutory basis.

Professor Renold, based in the School of Social Sciences said: “The landscape of relationships and sexuality education is changing. Wales’ new curriculum is an ambitious project that promotes ethical, informed, creative and confident learners on all areas of education, including RSE.

“But there are currently very few resources that offer ideas and techniques for how educational professionals can support, listen with and learn from children about what matters to them in this field. Primary AGENDA has been specifically designed with the new curriculum in mind, to creatively and safely explore a wide range of issues from emotions and friendships to gender and sexuality rights.”

Originally launched in 2016, AGENDA was co-developed with and for young people aged 11-17 and was embedded into practice by key Welsh Government-funded organisations that provide sex and relationships education. The new interactive toolkit has been designed specifically for educational professionals who want to empower children to make positive relationships matter in their schools and communities. It provides a rich suite of resources and ideas for an inclusive, creative and rights-based approach to often sensitive issues, from story-telling and crafting through to movement and music.

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales added: “Primary AGENDA provides safe, creative and hugely exciting ways to help children understand, explore and express their opinions on a whole range of vital issues. We mustn’t underestimate the ability of younger children. I find children of primary school age to be passionate, creative, curious and with a huge sense of social justice. I can’t wait to share Primary AGENDA with primary schools in Wales.”

Ceri Parry, head teacher at Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd in Newport, said: “Our ethos as a school is that we have a responsibility to ensure children are given the right tools to succeed in life. The Agenda Resource is hugely welcome. It will enable pupils from across Wales to flourish as critical thinkers, getting them to think independently about a range of topics that will help them grow into happy and confident adults."

AGENDA is a collaboration between Cardiff University, NSPCC Wales, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and Welsh Women’s Aid and is supported by the Welsh Government.

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 curriculum.

Available in Welsh and English, Primary AGENDA is free to download from www.agenda.wales