Helping parents and foster carers

The Speakeasy course for parents and carers

We know that talking to your children about relationships and sex can be difficult and, let's face it, a bit embarrassing.

We created the Speakeasy course to offer a relaxed and informal way for mums, dads and carers to get the confidence and knowledge you need to face those tricky talks and awkward questions.

Group of parents

How can I join a Speakeasy course?

Speakeasy courses are organised locally across the UK through parent support services in primary schools, children's centres and other settings.

Although FPA trains professionals across the UK to deliver Speakeasy, we don't currently run courses for parents ourselves and we don't have a list of local courses.

We recommend contacting your local family information service or your local authority education department to see if they offer a course in your area.

The course is usually free of charge. Venues and course times are decided locally. Where possible crèche facilities are provided.

A course usually lasts for eight weeks, with one session per week.

How will the course help me?

It will help you gain the confidence and knowledge to talk to your child about growing up.

By the end of the course you will:

  • Be able to talk positively about relationships and sex with your child according to their age and level of understanding.
  • Feel comfortable taking on the role of 'sex and relationships educator' at home.
  • Understand the changes children go through during puberty.
  • Understand how to help children deal with pressure from media and advertising.
  • Have up-to-date information on contraception and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Know more about the relationships and sex education that is taught in schools.
  • Be ready to answer the questions your child is bound to have.

If there's a particular concern you have, or an area you want to discuss, let your course leader know – they may be able to adapt course content accordingly.

Find out what parents who've taken the course think.

What age should my child be when I take the course?

Speakeasy can help you start talking about growing up, relationships and sex whatever age your children are. The course will help you understand what information is appropriate for your child at what age.

What happens on a Speakeasy course?

Speakeasy groups are small – usually around eight to 12 mums and dads. Every course is delivered by an experienced course leader (also known as a facilitator) who has been specially trained by FPA.

Learning is informal, fun and creative. The focus is on parents learning together from your own experiences. You might create artwork, take part in role play and play games.

You can also do more traditional written work if you want to gain credits from Gateway Qualifications (see below). You can ask for extra help and support with written work if you need it.

Speakeasy courses are delivered to a wide range of cultural groups. All learning and discussion is respectful of cultural and religious traditions.

Gain Gateway Qualifications credits

The Speakeasy course is registered with Gateway Qualifications (previously Open College Network Eastern Region). This means that your time on the course and the work you produce can be used to gain Gateway Qualifications credits.

Gateway Qualifications credits are a way of measuring and valuing your learning. They are nationally recognised and can help you with entry to employment or further education.

By the end of the course you'll have produced a portfolio of work which will be assessed. If your work meets Gateway Qualifications standards you'll receive three credits at either Level 1 or 2. You'll get a certificate to confirm your achievement.

Altogether you'll complete around 30 hours of learning. This includes the time spent in course sessions and time spent working on your portfolio at home.