Questions parents ask about relationships and sexual health education
Questions parents ask
Can condoms be given out to high school students?
The Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships curriculum support material reflects a philosophy where abstinence from sexual activity for school-aged students is the key focus. It also emphasises a positive preventative approach, harm reduction and safer sex strategies without necessarily normalising sexual activity for school-aged students. Where appropriate, condoms may be used during a health education lesson on contraception. It is not, however, the school's role to distribute condoms to students.
The Department of Education does not support the installation of condom vending machines in secondary schools.
Secondary school students have access to school health nurses who can provide developmentally appropriate information on sexual health, including contraception. If appropriate, students may be referred to relevant health services.
Health and Physical Education provides students with the skills and knowledge required to develop and maintain positive healthy relationships. It develops students' abilities to make informed and responsible decisions about health and well-being for themselves and others; and develops the skills needed to make informed decisions in a range of contexts, including healthy relationships and sexual health.
Do teachers need to inform parents they are implementing relationships/sexual health education with their class?
It is strongly recommended that teachers/schools communicate clearly with parents and caregivers about the nature and content of health-related programs, including relationship and sexual health education. This could be for example, through the school council agenda, newsletters, and parent events or through a letter from the teacher/school. Research indicates that the majority of parents support the provision of sexuality education at school but want to be informed when it is happening to support and complement the program.
If a parent or caregiver subsequently chooses to withdraw their child from a lesson and has followed he required procedure for exemption, teachers need to ensure that an alternative teaching and learning activity is provided to enable achievement of the same learning outcomes as other students. For further information, please refer to the Exemption from Particular Classes Guidelines from the WA Department of Education.
Further information for parents can be found in Talk Soon. Talk Often. A Guide for Parents Talking to Their Kids About Sex.
What resources are available for students and parents who home school?
Useful resources are the ‘Puberty’ series - Girls and Boys in Puberty. A good approach is to have boys learn about what also happens for girls (and vice versa). The Relationships, Sex and Other Stuff booklet is for teenagers (13 years or older).
The comprehensive publication Talk Soon. Talk Often. A Guide for Parents Talking to their Kids About Sex aims to increase the confidence of parents when talking to their children about relationship and sexuality topics.
Sexual Health Quarters also have many resources available for free or low cost.
Why is there more than one needle for the HPV vaccine?
The current HPV vaccine (Gardasil9) is 2 doses (2 needles) which protects against 9 strains of the HPV virus. The previous HPV vaccine (Gardasil) had 3 doses (3 needles) and protected against 4 strains of the virus. All doses of the vaccine are needed for best protection against HPV and the only way to obtain its full benefits and protection.