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How parents can take action

Tips on how to ensure your child’s school tackles sexism.

What is your child’s school doing to tackle sexism in the classroom? Would you like to see the school do more to combat sexual harassment, sexist language and gender stereotyping? Here are some tips on how to make sure your child’s school is taking effective action to prevent sexism.

1. Write to the headteacher

Write a letter or email to the headteacher of your child’s school to ask what they are currently doing to combat sexual harassment, sexist language and gender stereotyping – and to request that the school implements a whole school approach to tackling sexism. We’ve produced a template letter that you can adapt and send to the headteacher.

2. Ask questions at parents' evenings

Open evenings and parents’ evenings provide an opportunity to ask questions directly to teachers – and, ideally, members of the senior management – about what the school is doing to prevent sexism. Asking your questions during group Q&A sessions will help to raise awareness amongst others parents – and may help encourage the school to take action on the issue.  Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Is there a school-wide strategy or action plan to tackle sexism?
  • Does the school operate a ‘whole school approach’ to combating sexism?
  • Does the school have a clear policy and procedures for preventing and responding to sexual harassment?
  • How many teachers have received training on tackling sexism?
  • Is the school aware of the research conducted by UK Feminista and the National Education Union on sexism in schools – and the resources we offer to help schools tackle sexism?

Find out more about the resources and training that UK Feminista offers schools to tackle sexism.

Over half (64%) of secondary school teachers are unsure or not aware of the existence of any policies and practices in their school to prevent sexism.

– “It’s just everywhere”: A study on sexism in schools and how we tackle it, UK Feminista & National Education Union, 2017

3. Raise incidents or concerns with the school

If you are concerned about incidents or cultures of sexism at your child’s school – such as the use of sexist language, gender stereotyping or sexual harassment – raise these concerns with your child’s teacher. If you think the school as a whole should be doing more to combat this issue, including equipping teachers with the tools and confidence to tackle sexism, contact a member of the school’s senior management team. We have provided a template letter to headteachers that you can adapt and use (above).

4. Speak to other parents about the issue

Speak to parents and guardians of other children at the school about tackling sexism. Are they aware of how prevalent sexual harassment, sexist language and gender stereotyping are in UK schools? Do they know if action is being taken at the school your children attend to combat these issues?

If you have, or are planning to, raise this issue with your child’s – such as by writing to the headteacher or asking questions at parents’ evening – you could encourage other parents to do the same and thereby encourage the school to act.

Just 17% of female students at mixed-sex secondary schools think their school does enough to stop sexism.

– “It’s just everywhere”: A study on sexism in schools and how we tackle it, UK Feminista & National Education Union, 2017

5. Write to your MP

MPs have an important role to play in championing action to tackle sexism in schools in their constituency. Ask your MP to write to the headteacher of your child’s school – and other schools in the area – to find out what action is being taken to combat sexism and to encourage best practice via a ‘whole school approach’. We’ve prepared a template email you can send directly to your MP via the link below.

Email your MP now

To get started, simply enter your postcode below and click ‘Email my MP’:

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