RSHE Conference 2023 - is TikTok a useful source of media for students?

An important and inspiring RSHE Conference talk hosted at Forest, with four guest speakers sharing what their charity involves, alongside 50 external delegates expressing their thoughts.

RSHE stands for ‘Relationships, Sex and Health Education’ and is an important part of the curriculum. Relationships education has been compulsory for pupils in primary education since September 2020. For secondary pupils, relationships and sex education (RSE) must be taught. Health education is now compulsory in all schools too.

Very inspiring talks by Everyone’s Invited ( @everyonesinvited ), School Consent Project ( @scpconsent ), Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation – The drug education charity (@dsmfoundation ) and The Wellbeing Hub Teen Tips ( @thewellbeinghubteentips ) along with the fantastic involvement from our delegates taking part in the Q&A’s!

Soma Sara is a multi-award-winning activist, author, speaker and the CEO of the charity ‘Everyone’s Invited’ – featured in British Vogue’s 2021 Vogue 25. In June 2020, Soma began sharing her experiences of rape culture on Instagram. In light of the overwhelming response from those that resonated with her story Soma founded Everyone’s Invited. Everyone’s Invited is a charity providing an anonymous space for survivors to share their stories and delivering specialist education designed to empower school communities to promote healthy relationships, sexual well-being and to tackle rape culture. In this session she spoke about the current landscape and why RSHE is a priority.

Ellie Softley, Head of Education for ‘Everyone’s Invited’ says how TikTok helps them to talk to students “in their language of their generation”.

Next guest speaker to go was Monica Bhoga, Director of The Schools Consent Project. This charity sends lawyers into schools to teach 11-18 year olds the legal definition of consent and key sexual offences, such as rape, sexual assault, and ‘sexting’, through interactive workshops. Monica is passionate about educating and empowering young people, by making sure the next generation is confident of their legal rights, able to community their boundaries as well as respectful of those boundaries in others, and hoping to achieve the wider cultural change not just in our schools but in society as a whole.

Our third guest speaker was Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, Director and Founder of drug education charity the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation and an award winning author of books for parents. In 2022 she was awarded an OBE for services to young people. Fiona co-founded the DSM Foundation in 2014 in response to the death of her 16-year-old son Daniel having taken ecstasy. As well as working directly with young people, parents, and professionals herself, Fiona is also regularly asked to speak on various national platforms and in the media, and is closely involved in policy work with government, police, academics and other agencies. Her TEDx talk, ‘Why drugs education is vital’, can be found here. Fiona’s passionate commitment to do all she can to prevent what happened to her son happening to anyone else drives everything she does.

Last guest speaker we had was Alicia Drummond, founder of The Wellbeing Hub and a member of the all party parliamentary group for fit and healthy childhood. This award-winning platform provides schools with a whole school, pro-active approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people, now in over 180 schools in the UK, impacting over 100,000 pupils. Alicia is passionate about providing evidenced-based advice to parents, teachers and all those looking after children and young people, so they can be pro-active in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those in their care. Alicia also works directly with children and young people empowering them to look after their mental health and wellbeing.

This session allowed for open conversation by everyone being able to share their thoughts and ideas on how to bring these topics across in schools and to students, which led the conference to be a successful one!