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Revised Guidelines on Sexuality Education in Schools Released

June 10, 2015 at 4:56 PM

*From the Family Violence Clearinghouse* 

The Ministry of Education has released a revised guide,Sexuality education: a guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers. This is the first time the guide has been revised since 2002.

The aim of the guide is to support school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. The guide states, "All young people need access to information and opportunities to think about, question, and discuss issues related to relationships, gender, sexual identities, sexual orientation, sexual behaviour, sexual and reproductive health, and societal messages. Sexuality education provides a framework in which this can happen."

Ministry of Education (MOE) Deputy Secretary for Student Achievement, Dr Graham Stoop, said the guide directly addresses issues of consent, coercion, and cultural differences for the first time.

The guide explains, "'Sex education' and 'sexuality education' are different. The New Zealand Curriculum supports a holistic approach to sexuality education as defined by the hauora model, which includes physical, social, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. This is much broader than 'sex education' which relates only to the physical aspects of sexual and reproductive knowledge."

The guide says sexuality education sits within the broader area of relationship education, which also includes social and emotional learning (SEL), and violence prevention education. It states, "Programmes for the prevention of sexual violence are an important part of health education. Issues of coercion, consent, and safety in intimate relationships are important aspects to explicitly teach in sexuality education programmes. Assertive communication skills and awareness of personal values, ethics, and respect for the feelings and decisions of others are vital in this regard."

The revised guide includes examples of Māori and Pasifika models such as te whare tapa whā and fonofale, and protocols for consulting with parents and school communities.

Read more on the NZFVC website