Resources to teach primary school children about parental separation have been made available to all schools by Exeter University, in collaboration with NYAS.

Led by Prof. Anne Barlow and Dr Jan Ewing, research found that there was a need to extend relationship education in schools to include education on parental separation in Key Stage 2 PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) lessons.

The resources were produced in collaboration with NYAS and NACCC (The National Association of Child Contact Centres), who helped create a series of lesson plans that look at the change in family dynamics that so many children experience each year.

It is estimated that 280,000 children experience parental separation each year in the UK, and feedback from relationship professionals and teachers has shown that there is a clear absence of teaching materials to help cover this topic in the classroom. This has left many teachers feeling that they are unable to offer the right support.

Rosie’s Story aims to provide a safe environment to explore the concept of parental separation. The lesson plans walk children through the thoughts and feelings involved in the separation of a child’s parents using cartoon Rosie and her family as a case study.

Children sitting on the floor looking at a teacher

The first lesson works to normalise the range of feelings that children may feel if their parents separate. This will provide the children with the skills to help cope with their own feelings or support their peers who may be experiencing them. The second lesson looks at the rights of the child under Article 12 of the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the support that children are entitled to if their parents separate. Introducing children to their rights helps to explain the legal processes that may be involved in parental separation.

The lesson plans have been awarded the Quality Mark approval from The PSHE Association, which is awarded exclusively to resources that meet their best practice principles for safe and effective PSHE education.

Sharon Lovell MBE, NYAS Cymru Chief Executive, said: “This is an excellent resource to ensure children and young people are aware of their rights and entitlements when parents separate. We know this can be a really difficult time for them and want to ensure they understand the processes and how their voices are equally important. We thank Welsh Government for supporting our work and to all the schools who will share this resource with and for children and young people.”

The free resources are available to download here along with an infographic for the classroom wall. All resources are also available in Welsh.