SCHOOLS need to shift the emphasis of sex education classes away from “fear, disease and shame” to focus on love and intimacy, say researchers at Deakin University.
Sex education should start at prep level instead of in years 5 and 6, but under a coordinated approach with parents, teachers and community health organisations, the study recommends.
The Deakin study found that 38 per cent of parents don’t want sex education taught in schools but nearly 60 per cent want schools to give advice on how to discuss it with their children. The children said they wanted to learn more about love.
Victorian government schools are required to provide sexuality classes as part of physical education and health lessons, although it is up to each school to design its own program.
Deakin’s Burwood researcher, Dr Deb Ollis, said every student had a right to sex education, and schools needed age-appropriate and culturally sensitive programs.
The study’s findings come after a sex ed program was introduced to 1700 prep to year 9 students at Geelong’s Northern Bay P-12 College.