Home partnerships



Relationships and sexuality education (RSE) is a shared responsibility between parents/carers, schools and the community and a great opportunity for all to work together to promote positive attitudes, behaviours and development of important life skills.

Home is the first place a child learns important health messages, beliefs and values that will lay the foundations for their relationships and sexual development. Parents, carers and other significant adults in a child’s life are essential partners with schools in ensuring that children are given accurate, reliable and appropriate health information in a supportive environment. Young people’s perceptions and behaviours are greatly influenced by family and community values, social norms and conditions, and media so the cooperation and support of families needs to be sought from the outset and regularly reinforced.

GDHR recognises parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children. School programs aim to build upon home education and support young people to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make informed choices about their relationships and sexual health.  

Most parents support sexual health education in schools, as long as they are informed about what is covered. Research shows that parents want a partnership approach and would like teachers to have specialist training in this area.1 

Ways to help strengthen partnerships with parents and carers

  • Free RSE professional development - take advantage of the free RSE professional development for WA teachers funded by WA Health delivered by The RSE Project by Curtin University

  • 'Take-home activities' - offer ‘take-home activities’ that encourage students to continue discussions at home with parents or other trusted adults. (Suggestions for 'take home activities' can be found within the learning activities on GDHR.)

  • After school sessions - offer after school sessions for parents and children. Invite the school health professionals to come along and meet the parents and explain their role in the school.

  • Parent workshop - off a workshop to inform parents of the content and resources that will be used in the program. These can be facilitated by school staff and/or external providers. See Agencies for a list of possible providers.

  • Invite parents to a lesson -  presented by the students where they can teach the parents the things they have been learning in class.

  • P&C meeting - Invite students to a to run one of the GDHR activities with the committee so that they can see the content and resources used in the lessons.

  • Ensure parents - that the primary concern of RSE is to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and that it covers a broad range of topics that should be taught right from birth such as: protective behaviours; emotional literacy; self-esteem and resilience; and respectful relationships. It is not just about puberty and sex. 

  • Reassure parents with evidence - that comprehensive RSE programs have been found to:

    • increase young people's confidence and ability to make informed decisions

    • delay first experience of sexual intercourse

    • increase safer sex practices

    • reduce risk taking

    • provide opportunities for young people to learn and discuss relationships and sexual health issues outside the home in a safe, supportive environment.2

  • Keep parents informed - by sending home letters about the RSE program you will be conducting in your school. The following sample letters can be used and adapted for your school:

  • Parent resources - provide parents with Talk Soon. Talk Often: a guide for parents talking to their kids about relationships and sex.  This resource provides age and stage appropriate information for children 0 to 18 years. It is available in hardcopy to WA parents and schools can order in bulk for free. Links to the TSTO website can be added to your school website and newsletters. It is useful to send these booklets out to parents when their child starts at your school. A top tip sheet can be sent out as a reminder prior to starting your RSE program. 

Do teachers need to get parent consent to teach relationships and sexuality education?

There are no specific Department of Education (DoE) policies on this matter.

Teachers do not need to get permission to teach anything that is on the curriculum, however there are DoE guidelines on seeking parental permission to show any content that may considered controversial.

It is best practice for schools to communicate clearly with parents and caregivers about the nature and content they are covering in class for all subject ares, and especially important for RSE.

Parents also have the right to request that a child be exempt from any class under Section 72 of the School Education Act 1999. 

Parent support for school-based relationships and sexuality education

Parents and their support for school-based relationships and sexuality education. WA Snapshot report (2022):

In 2021 a nationwide survey of Australian parents was conducted involving 2,427 participants across all states and territories. The survey included parents of children aged 4 to 18 across differing school systems, of which 643 were from WA.

General attitudes towards RSE from WA parents

92.6% of parents 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that RSE should be provided in school.

Over 90% of parents 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with the following statements:

Sexual health education in school should:

  • be provided by educators who have sufficient knowledge and skills to deliver effective sexual health education

  • address the broad range of factors that impact relationships, sexual health, and overall social and emotional wellbeing

  • be inclusive to all students regardless of gender identity

  • be relevant and responsive to having sexual health needs of young people

  • should promote the right to autonomous decision making and respect for others

  • incorporate a balanced approach that includes the positive aspects of sexuality and relationships as well as the prevention of sexual health problems

  • be scientifically accurate and use evidence based teaching methods. 

Many parents want to be forewarned about school programs to ensure consistency with messaging across home and school, to provide families with an opportunity to raise particular issues at home, and to be prepared for any questions that might arise.

Some parents specifically requested detailed information be provided prior to the school program.


  1. Hendriks, J., Glasgow-Collins, R., Saltis, H., Marson, K., Walsh, J., Lawton, T., & Burns, S. (2022). Parents and their support for school-based relationships and sexuality education: Western Australia snapshot report. Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, Curtin University, Australia.
  2. UNESCO. 2018. International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach. France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.