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Step 2: Engaging your school community

2 minutes

Engaging staff, families and communities will inform you about the views and needs of your community and help everyone see their role in promoting equality and respect.

In this step, you will:

  • Give all staff an opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences of gender equality in the school as their workplace. School leaders will communicate to staff how they will respond to this feedback.
  • Communicate with families and the wider school community about the school’s approach to respectful relationships education.
  • Consult with the whole school community about their expectations and experiences of gender equality at the school.
  • Develop an understanding among staff about how they can contribute to building a school culture that promotes gender equality.

Engaging staff

A genuine whole school approach requires that all staff understand the importance of promoting gender equality and respectful relationships.

All staff need to be supported to build a culture where gender stereotypes are challenged and gender equality is actively promoted and modelled, in and out of the classroom. Staff also need to be equipped to respond to questions and challenges from students and parents.

The best approach to increasing staff understanding will depend on your school structure and culture, but consider some of the following methods:

  • Provide on-site professional learning sessions, internally or externally facilitated.
  • Include communications in staff bulletins and share information and resources on the staff intranet.
  • Display informative posters in staff areas.
  • Use video clips or recent news items to prompt discussion among staff about gender equality and/or gender-based violence.

Engaging parents and caregivers

Parents, caregivers and families have important roles to play in supporting your school’s work to promote gender equality and respectful relationships. Creating opportunities for discussion and feedback from parents, caregivers and families is essential for ensuring your plan for action is tailored and sustainable. Surveys are an effective way to get valuable insight into families’ awareness, understanding and support of prevention of gender-based violence work.

Engaging students

Meaningful and active engagement with students within schools is vital, as students feel heard, provide input into who they envision change school look like, and are able to shape their own experiences within the school environment.

There may be opportunities to involve students in planning, informing and consulting with the wider student body through any leadership or council processes that exist. Students are often strong advocates for this work and can have significant influence and impact on gender equality in both their school and social settings.

When schools value the voices, thoughts and opinions of students, actively promote their engagement and see it as crucial to whole school change, that change will be more effective.


What's next?

Step 3: Exploring current practice

See more tools and resources to support respectful relationships education in primary and secondary schools

Tools and resources
Teenage students sitting on and around a table in a classroom, talking. They are all facing one girl with a pony tail, who is speaking.