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Sexuality education in Australian secondary schools: results of the 1st national survey of Australian secondary teachers of sexuality education 2010

1 Apr 2011


Executive summary

The 1st National Survey of Secondary Teachers of Sexuality Education involved nearly 300 secondary school teachers from every jurisdiction in Australia including government, Catholic and independent schools.

The key findings are arranged under the themes of teaching workforce, the content of sexuality education, barriers and support, teachers’ views and opinions and school policy requirements.

Sexual Health Teachers

According to this sample 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.

Thus, this research supplies a strong argument for well designed pre-service teacher training which provides teachers with similar basic teaching skills and ensures that a consistent message will be delivered to students. Finally, one third of teachers in the sample did not assess their teaching against curriculum standards. This was either due to a lack of school support or a lack of knowledge that there were assessment criteria for this subject area.

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