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Robert Smillie Memorial Primary School Case Study

Co-designing the RSHP curriculum with school community members


Robert Smillie Memorial Primary is in Larkhall. The school is near a local authority Gypsy/Traveller site and many families have been part of the school community for years. 

Identify problem

Several mothers from the community expressed concern that aspects of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum was in tension with the beliefs and values of their culture.  Some suggested that they may prefer their children to be removed from the school rather than experiencing specific aspects of the lessons.

Consult community

The school agreed to meet members of the community to find out more about the areas of concern.  The meetings were brokered by Virginia Francis, a Community Health Worker with Mecopp Community Health Team, who also involved STEP.   By providing a welcoming space the school was able to hear the women’s views and discuss possible solutions.

Create a solution

A second session was arranged where the women and two lead members of staff went through all aspects of the curriculum that was causing concern. Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes for Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) were shared and coded red (do not teach), amber (to be discussed) and green (appropriate content).

Test and evaluate

The school consulted the community and STEP to get feedback on what they had produced and ensure that the model would meet the needs of all stakeholders.  Several modifications were made at this stage after the women consulted more widely within their community.

Agree and communicate approach

The school wrote a letter to parents of children outlining what they would learn at each stage.  They also produced a clear rationale for all members of the school teaching staff.


  • Parents and carers buy-in because they feel listened to and their culture has been recognized and respected
  • Teachers have buy-in because they can see the success of the approach and are motivated to work more closely with the community in future projects.
  • Learners have buy-in because they are assured by the synergy between home and school, their culture is respected and they do not feel singled out.