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From September 2020 Relationships Education will become compulsory in all primary schools in England. Relationships Education in primary schools should teach the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other peers and adults. Relationships and Sex Education aims to help children and young people to be safe, healthy and happy, both as they grow, and in their future lives- this includes being safe, healthy and happy online.

Part of being online is knowing how to respond to something respectfully- which can be particularly tricky if it’s something you disagree with. Tell your class “Vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream.” Ask anyone who disagrees to raise their hand. Choose someone to explain why they disagree.

Get the children to listen and think about the way the pupil shares their opposing opinion.

Discuss the fact that the pupil didn’t shout at you for thinking your opinion was ‘wrong’ or use any rude or aggressive language when explaining their opposing opinion.

Tell them the way you disagree with someone online follows the same rules as disagreeing with someone in the real world. You use polite language, do not shout (no writing in all capital letters as this is the equivalent), and explain the reasoning behind why you disagree- you can’t just tell them “you’re wrong”.

Following this, work with your class to come up with a set of rules for how they should communicate when using the forum. Once you have established a set of rules, go ahead and set up a forum topic which will spark a debate as this is a great way of teaching children how to have differing opinions and still be respectful online.


Forums are also a great way of bringing people together who have similar hobbies and interests. They can connect you to others and make you feel part of a community.

Setting up some forums for the children to discuss various aspects of their interests outside of school can help foster new friendships and connections. Forum discussions can be a particularly great way for your shyer children to get involved with sharing their thoughts and ideas.


Once the children have built their confidence with using and responding to forum topics safely and responsibly, you might want to try turning off moderation so that the children can post their own topics for discussion in the forum.

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