Whole School Approach
It is widely acknowledged that a whole school approach is the most effective and sustainable way of implementing a CSE programme.
“The Guidance emphasize the need for programmes that are informed by evidence, adapted to the local context, and logically designed to measure and address factors such as beliefs, values, attitudes and skills which, in turn, may affect health and well-being in relation to sexuality.
The quality and impact of school-based CSE is dependent not only on the teaching process – including the capacity of teachers, the pedagogical approaches employed and the teaching and learning materials used – but also on the whole school environment. This is manifested through school rules and in-school practices, among other aspects. CSE is an essential component of a broader quality education and plays a critical role in determining the health and well-being of all learners.”
UNESCO’s International technical guidance on sexuality education, 2018
In summary, a whole school approach in the context of CSE has the following key elements:
Consultation with key stake holders: Leadership, management, practitioners, students, parents
The school culture, ethos and local, national and international context
Policy review/development with repsect to CSE
Curriculum planning and development
Delivery of curriculum with attention to evaluation and pastoral care
Student participation, specifically needs assessment
Provision of student services, in-house and external providers
Professional development and welfare of all staff
A contructive partnership with parental body and local and wider communities
Summative and formative assessment of student progress, welfare and achievement
(adapted from: Sex and relationships education. A guide for independent schools and those working with them. Forrest, Blake and Ray, 2003)
Compared to local private and state schools, international schools have additional challenges. They must comply with both international and national regulatory systems, and operate within a much more diverse school community.
Therefore specialist support is needed. Support that recognises the additional challenges, yet also knows an effective CSE programme cannot compromise on protecting and preparing the students for adult life.
This is the specialist support that Susie March Consulting delivers.
Through our many years of CSE engagements with international schools across the world, we know that each school, even within the same city, will have a unique set of challenges – this means a there is no one-size-fits-all whole school approach.
We group our whole school approach into three phases: Foundation, Sustain and Review. This approach is underpinned by the UNESCO International Guidance” framework and other international CSE standards recognised in educational establishments.
Foundation phase comprises a clearly signalled commitment to CSE, the development of the school’s CSE policy and addresses the school’s culture in relation to CSE – this can potentially challenge and re-define the accepted norms.
Sustain is disproportionately critical for international schools since compared to local state school or private schools, staff turnover is typically much higher. Also, they have many more regulatory standards to monitor, and can also operate in a culture where CSE needs additional on-going support.
Review will identify where a school is exemplary in its approach to CSE - not just a process of highlighting areas of weakness or shortfall. With our global view, we can share good practices across the international school community and reflect back on how other schools have successfully responded to similar challenges.