Barnardo’s is launching new and updated editions of Real Love Rocks, a ground-breaking education and awareness raising programme around healthy relationships and exploitation.
It comes after an Ofsted review recommended that schools and colleges need to assume sexual harassment and sexual abuse online are happening in their settings, even if they have not received any reports, and take steps to tackle them.
These steps should include a nuanced Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (RSHE), based on the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) statutory guidance, that specifically includes sexual harassment and sexual violence, including online.
These new Barnardo’s resources help teachers and other education professionals explore and talk to children and young people confidently about difficult issues such as consent, grooming, technology, bullying, pornography, sexual harassment, and relationships.
Real Love Rocks is interactive and has been designed to engage children and young people in an empowering and fun way through animations, activities, and games.
Designed in collaboration with young people, the UK’s leading children’s charity says the resources will enhance schools’ statutory Relationship and Sex Education curriculum.
Barnardo’s originally launched Real Love Rocks in 2014 and has updated and refreshed the resources to reflect the different types of harms children and young people may face as they grow up. These include child sexual abuse, criminal exploitation, radicalisation, and extremism.
The updated Real Love Rocks is trauma informed and the resource includes developing kindness, understanding and empathy for both themselves and others. This edition emphasises the importance of emotional regulation and the importance of creating a support network of safe and trusted people.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Lynn Perry said: “All children and young people need access to high quality, age-appropriate information, and advice about issues like consent, healthy relationships, and the risk of harm on and offline.
“Our new resources are designed to help children understand their emotions, empathise with others, and develop the support networks we know are vital.
“We hope Real Love Rocks will help teachers to tackle difficult topics in the classroom, including sexual abuse and criminal exploitation.”
The primary school edition of the resources has been designed for use with 10 and 11-year-olds with topics including feelings, brains and bodies, relationships, grooming, exploitation, abuse, and online safety.
Activities for primary school children include talking through different scenarios like not being invited to play with friends or being dared to do challenges that are not okay and discussing how these things would make them feel.
And the online safety section encourages children to explore what they watch online and how this makes them feel.
It also includes activities around misinformation, scams and inappropriate content to help children develop their critical thinking to be able to navigate our ever-changing modern world.
Topics covered in the secondary school edition are feelings, brains and bodies, relationships, and consent, grooming and exploitation, and technology.
All the issues are tackled in a trauma-informed and age-appropriate way, for example activities around consent for secondary school children start with a discussion about someone’s phone being taken without their consent.
Other activities include understanding what sexual harassment is, where children explore dilemmas, identify and challenge behaviours that are inappropriate and learn about who can help if this is happening.
The resources and website (https://barnardosrealloverocks.org.uk/) include everything teachers, school counsellors, youth workers and any other professionals will need to run the programme for children and young people.