Children are more likely than ever to be affected by divorce – and yet it doesn’t feature in the new relationships and sex education guidance. Here, experts tell Kate Parker why teachers need to include divorce in their lessons – and what the best approach is.

Tes Magacine 11th January 2022

We live in a culture where we don’t often talk about relationships, one of the difficulties with this is that we also do not think about helping our children and young people to appreciate that relationships might come to an end.

This is reflected throughout our society. The image of a family that is portrayed is often a very fixed one where there are two parents of different genders and a child or two. There is often very little outside of this accepted norm reflected in television, social media, newspapers and magazines, and even within education.

The fact that we don’t talk about relationships, or relationships ending, compounded further by this not being discussed in the media, it doesn’t take much imagination to consider that children and young people are probably quite unlikely to be having these conversations on the playground or within their social groups.

One of the downsides of this is that children will often feel lonely, isolated or somehow different when there are difficulties at home. When considered alongside all the other emotions that children and young people will be experiencing as their families change it is not difficult to see how children can become very confused and not know where to turn for support or to turn.

All this could be about to change!

Recently NACCC has been working with Jan Ewing of Exeter University and NYAS as part of the Family Solutions Group to look at ways to achieve change, so that children are taught about these things so that they have the knowledge and so that the conversation becomes normalized.

The Family Solutions Group have been working to prepare resources for teachers to be able to deliver within the classroom environment, that helps children to understand that families do change sometimes, but that this doesn’t impact upon their rights and it shouldn’t impact upon their ability to have safe and loving relationships with both parents. These resources are known collectively as The Rights Idea.

A video from one of the learning resources can be seen here:

In a recent article, the TES Magazine picked up on these themes and wrote an interesting article about the lack of provision for these topics within the national curriculum and the work being completed to change this. Overall this is a positive article and its existence is likely to raise the issue with teachers all over the country who now have the resources and lesson plans to consider wider teaching in this area, thanks to the work of the Family Solutions Group.

More information about relationships ending and helping children and young people to understand more about this can be accessed through the NACCC Website where there is a range of resources designed in such a way that enables them to be accessed by children and young people with or without the need for adult support.

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