Commitment and families - with TrueTube

A new teaching resource puts family relationships front and centre of school efforts to support children post-pandemic.

Family relationship charity Fastn has teamed up with award-winning educational resource producers TrueTube to create the free resource aimed at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (years 7 to 11), which can also be adapted to use with other secondary age groups.

The resource centres on the real-life experiences of four diverse and inclusive families filmed in their homes and communities. It has already received rave reviews from teachers. You can download the resources.

Michelle O'Neill, Leader of PSHE, Citizenship, R.E. and Careers at Wellacre Academy in Manchester said:

‘I am recommending this great resource across all the schools that make up The Alliance for Learning Teaching School Alliance. It is a valuable contribution to Relationships Education, an area which is still relatively under-resourced with quality teaching support. Any teacher using t can have confidence that it offers a great starting point for a positive and inclusive classroom discussion about relationships.’  

The lessons fit with the statutory guidance for teaching Health, Relationships and Sex Education. They can also be integrated into schools’ existing provision for PSHE education.

The lessons support the Principles of Excellence in Relationships Education signed up to by Fastn and 14 organisations including Relate, Parentkind, Relationships Foundation and Family Links. The Principles promote a whole schools approach, in which relationships education is not just taught in lessons but modelled by staff and reflected in wider behaviour policies and culture. 

Fastn chief executive Catherine Hine said:

‘Schools want to support children shaken by the impact of Covid-19 to experience the resilience that comes with healthy, dependable relationships. These families tell how commitment can become the new cool – it is the glue that helps you celebrate the best of times and see you through the difficult times. These resources support teaching about personal development and relationships as an introduction to the concept of commitment within healthy relationships, and how this can contribute to self-worth.

‘They will help teachers work with pupils to develop choices and ambitions for future relationships (including parenthood), and in forming and maintaining healthy family relationships in their current and future lives.’

Commitment and Families come with full plans for two Key Stage 4 lessons, complete with guidance notes, PowerPoint presentations, worksheet and lesson plans. Underpinning the resource is a recognition that happy, healthy, dependable relationships have many things in common, yet all families are different, experience different opportunities and pressures.

Meet the families here:

Bahader and Gurinder

Before they met, family friends recommended Bahader and Gurinder to each other. They first made contact over email, met in person twice, then spoke over the phone for the next two months before deciding to get engaged, getting married eight months later. They have been married for seven years and have three young children.

Bahader says:

‘Commitment is an unbreakable promise that come what may that you will do whatever is necessary. That’s commitment.’

Donna and Effy

Donna is a single mother to Effy. They live together with their rescue dog and three rescue cats. Donna raises Effy with the support of her mother, her brother and her neighbours. For Donna, the estate she lives on is a community of people that she can rely on.

Donna says:

‘When you’re a single parent and you’re having additional challenges, as well as the daily challenges, it can test your commitment but you have to get on with it. You have to show up and carry on. Just getting the basics right. So, I make sure we‘ve got a roof over our heads; I make sure I’ve got food in the cupboard; I make sure she’s got clothes to wear, things to do.’

Frank, Jackie and Shola

Frank and Jackie met in 1989 and were friends, to begin with, until their relationship got more serious and they started living together. After a few years they decided they wanted to have children, but this didn’t happen for them as they had hoped. But finally, they had Shola. They have been together for 30 years, and neither of them sees the benefit of signing a piece of paper to say that they are committed.

Jackie says:

‘Life throws lots of different things at you, but once you have the commitment of knowing that you have your partner’s back and that they’ve got your back and that your family is tight, hopefully, that will always be enough to get you through the really tough times in life.’

Steven, Conor and George

Steven and Conor have been together for nine years and live with their son George, who was born by the surrogacy of a school friend of Steven’s. The couple are aware that not everyone understands or accepts who they are, and both worry about George being accepted socially as he gets older. Because of this, Steven has started a social media campaign to show George that same sex families exist and are supported worldwide.

Steven says:

‘Family is a unit that’s there to support each other and allow each other to grow.’