In Victoria, sexuality education is viewed as a shared responsibility between parents (or carers), the school and the local community. In health education in general, the partnership of home and school is of particular importance.
The school’s sexuality education program, supported by the school leadership, typically provides the stimulus and support for this shared responsibility, inviting parent and carer involvement in discussion on their child’s school sexuality education, the role of the parent (for example, in providing the family perspective and home discussion) and facilitating local community connections.
Engagement of parents in sexuality education is most effective when it begins at primary school. A primary school parent engagement kit is currently being developed by this Department.
Parents Victoria is the statewide democratic organisation representing parents of students in Victorian government schools. The organisation, formally the Victoria Federation of Mothers Clubs, has supported the need for sex education in schools since the organisation’s inception in 1925. At that time the new organisation identified the need for sex education as one of three concerns; the other two being immunisation against diphtheria and the excessive weight of children's book loads. See:
Parent and carer meetings
It is recommended that information about the school’s sexuality education program be provided in a meeting at which parents and other members of the school community are present. All those present should be given an opportunity to express their views.
Information about sexuality education provided to parents should be sensitive to language and cultural backgrounds. The information provided should focus on:
- the goal and aims of the sexuality education program
- the program’s relationship to school policy
- the curriculum content of the program
- the proposed materials.
Many schools find it effective to involve a local health agency (for example, general practitioner, nurse educator etc.) or expert provider when conducting a parent meeting (or workshop). As such, hosting a parent meeting can also assist in the development of a working partnership between parents, the local community and the school.
SSAFE – engaging parents about sexual diversity
Parents are likely to have a range of reactions if their child is or thinks they may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Parent engagement in drug education
We offer a number of resources for engaging parents, including fact sheets and a resource specifically focussed on safe partying, titled Celebrating Safely. See:
Drug Education – Engaging Parents