Wednesday, February 18, 2015
A report from the United Kingdom recommending that all schools should have to teach sex and relationships education is a great move and that MPs should be applauded for their approach.
The Commons Education Committee's inquiry in the UK was launched after an inquiry found more than a third of schools weren’t providing age-appropriate sexuality and relationships education (SRE). In New Zealand we call this sexuality education.
In New Zealand, sexuality education sits within the Health and Physical Education strand of The New Zealand Curriculum. However the issue is that there is no consistent national approach to implementing the curriculum. It has been compulsory for state and integrated schools to teach sexuality education until the end of Year 10 since December 2001.
In New Zealand, the most recent review of sexuality education in New Zealand schools was undertaken by the Education Review Office (ERO) in 2007. The report found that the majority of sexuality education programmes were not meeting students’ learning needs effectively.
Since then, we have been calling for the Government to implement the recommendations of the ERO report.
Most recently, our October 2014 briefing to incoming MPs called for the implementation of the report’s recommendations. Italso called for teacher training and support to ensure that age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality and relationships education is delivered from Year 1 in all schools.
This should be supported by discussions at home with parents and whānau.
Some progress has been made with the Ministry of Education due to release updated sexuality education guidelines and a framework for years one to eight this year.
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