How Tameside schools are tackling violence against women and girls

VIOLENCE against women and girls is a national issue that has been at the forefront of people’s minds in recent years.

To help tackle it at a local level, children across Tameside are learning how to identify and call out sexist behaviour.

The national relationships charity TLC: Talk, Listen, Change is delivering a pilot programme in lessons, initially in 10 schools throughout the borough, between eight and 10 weeks.

Pupils at Millbrook Primary School

It will focus on emotional wellbeing, identifying unhealthy and abusive behaviours, online literacy & objectification, and informed approaches to consent – using age appropriate content to support healthier relationships.

Pupils will also be taught how to spot incidents of sexism and public harassment with lessons on allyship, designed to create a holistic approach to supporting safer schools for women and girls.

Outside of the classroom, the pilot will aim to build frameworks for reporting and policy, including incident reporting and how to set school policy which will create a supportive environment for girls at both primary and secondary schools.

John Hughes, Service Manager for Talk, Listen, Change, said: “Ultimately, we want to create a supportive environment for girls across every school in the country.

“They have a right to feel safe and supported in the classroom, on the playground and throughout their lives at school, and we’re totally committed to educating both boys and girls about what constitutes violence against women and girls and what its effects are.”

Millbrook Primary, Holy Trinity CE Primary, Hurst Knoll St James CE Primary, Fairfield High School For Girls and Rayner Stephens High School are already signed up, with others to follow in September.

The schools have already been involved in equality programmes and see the latest pilot as a “vital step in supporting the wider education sector to tackle the growing problem of sexism in the classroom”.

The new pilot scheme has been commissioned by Tameside Council, as part of the authority’s wider domestic abuse strategy, and developed in partnership with safeguarding leads, commissioners, teachers, parents and young people.

Councillor Eleanor Wills, Executive Member of Population Health, said: “Helping to educate and support young people in challenging violence and harassment against women and girls is a huge step in starting to change behaviours now and in future years. I hope the young people come away from the sessions being informed, heard and empowered.”

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