What we know about sex ed.
The National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health released in April 2014 found that 50% of young people were dissatisfied with sex education at schools, citing irrelevance to their real experiences, lack of relationship advice and lack of discussion of same-sex issues as problems.
Teacher pre-service education in delivering primary and secondary school sexual and relationships programs was found to be almost non-existent by a Deakin University study: Sexuality Education Matters – Preparing pre-service teachers to teach sexuality education, written by Debbie Ollis, Lyn Harrison and Claire Maharaja, April 2013:
Little is known about the provision of sexuality education in pre-service teacher education programs. In 2009 the Victorian Health Department commissioned research to map and document the extent and content of current programs in Victorian universities and make some assessment of how teachers are trained (Carman, Mitchell & Walsh 2009). This report found that little teacher education exists for pre-service secondary teachers and even less for primary teachers. In most cases, sexuality education will be allocated only a few hours in secondary health and physical education courses, and is increasingly being integrated with more general content related to student health and wellbeing.
Sexuality Education Matters offers universities modules for pre-service training and suggests that many of the activities, suggested readings and teaching and learning experiences could be adapted to school-based sexuality education.
In its report, Sexuality Education in Australian Secondary Schools 2010 on the results of the 1st National Survey of Australian Secondary Teachers of Sexuality Education, the Latrobe University Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) found that:
……. the vast majority of sexual health teachers in Australia are female Health and PE teachers aged 20 to 39. This indicates that sexuality education still is delegated to female teachers and therefore following the traditional context in which sexuality education was taught. Only a quarter of the teachers in this sample team-taught or engaged external organisations for delivering sexuality education. This means that most teachers in fact deliver sexuality education themselves without external support. However, sixteen per cent of the respondents had no training in teaching sexuality education and the majority of teachers in the sample relied on in-service training, which is often a one off session, of short duration and with a specific focus.
…… When asked for improvement opportunities the most frequently mentioned areas were about; up to date teaching material and the availability of online/ interactive activities, more time allocated to sex education to be able to cover all of the important content, increased curriculum and policy support, having clear guidelines on teaching content and approach and finally more and accessible professional development and training.
One likely outcome of the shortcomings in sexual and relationships education in Australia is the 20,000 or so teen pregnancies each year and the evidence that those teenagers have a limited understanding of sexual health, effective contraceptive methods, and/or the reproductive process (Moore & Rosenthal, 2006).
According to Domestic and family violence in pregnancy and early parenthood, Monica Campo, CFCA Practitioner Resource, Dec 2015, young women, aged 18-24 years, are also more likely to experience domestic and family violence during pregnancy.
Note: This page is being built – information about other states to come.