The perennial hot potato: sex education in schools

It’s an unsolvable problem. Some people feel this is something for the family to do. Others prefer to be left out of it and are quite relieved…ahem…when the state steps in to cover their lack of parenting fortitude.

Religion, culture, whatever the state school systems come up with, you can bet your bottom dollar the majority will be unhappy with it.

And still, we seem to have gotten on just fine over the decades.

Perhaps just hit the high notes and focus on health and safety, then let nature take care of the rest.

The Ministry of Education is offering schools professional development programmes to help teachers deliver sexuality education after a major overhaul of the health curriculum six months ago.

Lesley Hoskin, associate deputy secretary student achievement, said the Ministry worked with sexual health experts, teachers and health professionals to update guidelines to give schools a clearer understanding of what they needed to consider when covering sexuality education.

The revision took into account changing social climates, recent youth health research and broader understandings about sexuality and sexuality education.  

It also covered issues such as abuse, consent and healthy relationships.

Hoskin said as the health curriculum was not prescriptive there were a number of resources schools could use.

Schools were able to use contemporary issues important to students to explain or or illustrate different scenarios or issues.

Programmes used in schools include the ACC’s Mates and Dates initiative, which is aimed at preventing sexual and dating violence, Rape Prevention Education’s Sex ‘n’ Respect and Family Planning’s The Sexuality Road.

Students were also taught about consent and the perils of social media.

I guess the problem with letting parents explain all this to their kids is many, if not most, parents are actually pretty dud when when it comes to this sort of stuff. The ones complaining that it isn’t the state’s responsibility to educate their kids on these matters are right, but also wrong. They are looking at the issue through their rose-tinted responsible glasses…or their religious-dogma-tinted glasses.

There has to be some sort of basic education in place simply because parents are hopeless at dealing with it.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.