Parkfield Community School
A primary school in Saltley, Birmingham.
FGM Workshop for Mothers & Daughters
The demographics of our school community includes ethnicities which have a history of practising FGM on girls aged 0-14 and we felt at Parkfield that we needed to act to safeguard our girls.
FGM is an illegal practice in the UK and since 2003 any adult taking a child out of the country for FGM or facilitating it in this country can face 14 years imprisonment and a hefty fine.
Although FGM is discussed with girls, and boys, in Year 6 in line with our Relationship & Growing Up policy (Sex Education) this was felt to be too late for our younger girls.
Therefore we embarked on Mums & Daughters’ Wellbeing Workshops which focused purely on FGM from Year 3-6.
We invited mums to a 2pm workshop detailing that their daughters would join them at 2.30pm. The school nurse prior to this, following a careful introduction from myself on the topic of FGM, showed slides and discussed the procedure involved in FGM. Following this the girls joined and sat with their mums where I discussed the topic using the NSPCC Underwear rule (see Appendix 1).
This instantly reminded the children of the Pants guidelines and was also a useful lever to enable us to discuss that altering the area between their legs was totally unacceptable and also against the law.
The children were presented with compact mirrors with ‘You are beautiful just as you are’ printed on a pink case and similarly a blue one for their mums saying ‘I want to help stop FGM’. The girls also chose a small teddy bear on a keyring attached to 4 articles from the Unicef Rights of a Child (Appendix 2). Each girl chose their favourite article (right) and discussed it with their mum and then the whole table.
The workshop culminates in the mum and daughter signing a pledge book, and then they pledge to help eradicate FGM. Due to the varied ethnicities of the group it is quite an emotional workshop as some mums are dealing with flashbacks to their own FGM experiences (causing them many tears and anguish), whilst others are shocked and amazed by the barbaric practice and are aghast.
Detailed below are succinct points:
- Be aware not to judge any woman who has experienced FGM – it will not have been her choice.
- Be prepared to offer support and understanding.
- Carefully prepare what you are going to say, (I had a prepared script).
- Spend time with mums who feel this is a topic that need not be dealt with in school. Explain that it is ‘safeguarding of children’ practice that schools are required to do.
- Train all your staff regarding FGM before the workshop ensuring they are aware of possible comments from pupils following the workshop. (FGM training is also essential safeguarding in all schools).
- Make the room attractive for the workshop – we used pink table cloths and flowers and prepared scones/cakes/refreshments. (See Appendix 3).
If you wish to discuss any part of these workshops or have had success running something similar please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkfield Community School