This blog was originally posted on Passionate About RSE wordpress site as part of my work as RSE Consultant for Nottingham City Council.
A year ago I had this little idea...wouldn't it be great, I mused, to have a day focused on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)? A day for all people in the community to think about the role they play in promoting healthy relationships and positive sexual health. A day to celebrate the quality RSE happening in Nottingham schools. A day to raise awareness of what effective RSE looks like. A year on, here I am reflecting on the successes and challenges of the first ever Nottingham RSE day held on the 28th June 2018.
From the beginning my aims for the day were ambitious (I don't do things by halves!) I wanted everyone (and I mean everyone) involved and I wanted #RSEday to trend on twitter. We are very lucky that Nottingham City Council has incredibly supportive senior leaders and elected members that embrace new ideas and are proactive in promoting them. They gave the go ahead and we began thinking about what the day would look like, who could be involved, and how it would be promoted. Lists of 'things to do' on RSE Day were created for schools, parents/carers and other organisations with ideas for how to get involved. Our planning gained momentum in January 2018 when RSE Day was mentioned in parliament by Alex Norris MP, we saw the potential for this to become a national day of celebration, led by Nottingham.
Months of hard work and planning culminated on 28 June when all we could do was wait and see if the 'little idea' had been embraced by schools and other partners. We were not disappointed! There were over 440 tweets on the day using the hashtag #RSEday and we did trend on Twitter in the Nottingham area (must try harder next year!!). Most importantly for us was the work carried out by schools, with many staff going the extra mile to plan exciting events and activities for students and families. More than once on the day I had a tear in my eye at the passion and commitment shown by the fabulous teachers and school staff we have here in Nottingham. We also managed to get national engagement with many organisations and schools joining us to celebrate.
So what went well? There were lots of successes, but first and foremost was the excellent engagement of Nottingham schools who showed their commitment to this area of work. We trended on twitter locally and managed to get more than 200 followers on our dedicated @RSE_day account in the two week run-up to the event. Many local and national organisations got involved to celebrate with us and publicise the event.
What do we want to improve next year? RSE Day will be bigger and better - we are in talks with national partners to increase the reach of the day across the Country. We want all schools in Nottingham to engage with the day in whatever way meets the needs of their students and community. We also want to increase community involvement to ensure everyone recognises their role. This will involve engaging organisations who may not necessarily see this as their remit...but what is more important in life than promoting positive relationships??! They make the world go round!
Thanks to all the schools and organisations that took part in the first RSE Day. Special thanks to Cllr Sam Webster and Cllr Neghat Khan for fully supporting the day and helping to make it a success. And finally, I am indebted to all the colleagues who gave their time so enthusiastically on the day running workshops, visiting schools and tweeting!
We hope that you will join us to celebrate RSE Day next year on 27 June 2019. Follow us @RSE_day.
Catherine Kirk - RSE Consultant, Nottingham City Council