Sexuality resources

This page provides information for teachers relating to the curriculum, assessment and the whole-school learning approach to sexuality education.

Teaching resources

Use of learning and teaching resources 

Government resources, and externally developed resources that reflect government policy, can be used to provide a comprehensive sexuality education program. 

For more information about external providers that provide teaching resources in their training programs, such as Family Planning Victoria and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, see: Professional Learning

Curriculum planning 

  • US Guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education (PDF - 723Kb) − An example of leading material in what constitutes age-appropriate sexuality education is available from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
  • Ansell Sex-Ed. This website from La Trobe University's Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), is moderated by an experienced teacher in sexuality education; it gathers a wide range of resources, including classroom activities and ‘all things sex ed’. 

Curriculum resources  

  • Catching On Early - Teaching and Learning Activities for primary schools  − This is an evidence-based resource founded on the latest research into sexuality education and child sexual development. It was recently updated in 2013 to reflect the AusVELS curriculum. Its development-based program is designed to help schools teach the sexuality education components in the Health and Physical Education and Interpersonal Development domains. This resource provides a comprehensive sexuality education program for students from prep through to year 6. The collaborative support of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, has been critical in the development of this resource.
  • Catching on Later - Teaching and Learning Activities for secondary schools - This new classroom resource was released in 2013 and includes a set of sequential learning activities for students in Years 7-10. An addition to Catching on Early for primary school students and the 2004 Catching on For Years 9 and 10, this resource includes a set of evidence-based learning activities around key topics for adolescents such as body image, sexual health and relationships. Aligned to the AusVELS, the introduction of Catching On Later in conjunction with Catching on Early, ensures that every compulsory year-level is supported by comprehensive sexuality education resources.

    PowerPoint

  • For the 'Daisy' presentation referenced in Activity 1, Learning Sequence 4, in the AusVELS levels 7 and 8 resource, see: Daisy Powerpoint Presentation (pptx - 7.13mb)

  • To access the AusVELS Level 9 and 10  resource and all related PowerPoint presentations, see: Catching On Later - Years 9 and 10  
  • Another resource to support delivery of a comprehensive sexuality education program is Building Respectful Relationships: Stepping Out Against Gender-Based violence. This resource includes a set of teaching and learning activities aimed at students in Years 8 and 9 based on the key themes of gender, power, violence and respect. For more information and to access this resource see:  FUSE 

Other useful resources 

  • Talking Sexual Health – A teaching & learning resource for secondary schools ( pdf - 3.53mb) − The Talking Sexual Health (2001) curriculum materials are primarily designed for students in years 9 and 10 but are also suitable for students in Years 11 and 12. Many of the activities can also be modified for use with students in Years 7 and 8. The materials are similar to those included in Catching On for Years 9 and 10 (2005). The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, Victoria, developed this national resource for the Australian National Council for AIDS, Hepatitis C and Related Diseases (ANCAHRD). It is provided here with permission from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. 

Sexuality education provided at these age and school year levels is supported through the AusVELS curriculum framework. Teachers should also assess the learning needs of their students as appropriate. Research evidence that underpins age-appropriate learning and teaching in sexuality education and human development is available from: 

  • International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education − United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) (2009)
  • Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Kindergarten to 12th Grade: The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) (2004). These Guidelines are available from the Information Education. Select the publications link, see: SIECUS
  • Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships − These evidenced-based resources include primary school sexuality education curriculum support materials and are available through West Australian Health Promoting Schools.
  • Family Planning Victoria − Family Planning Victoria offers a wide range of primary school curriculum materials and works closely with schools to assist in the development of their ongoing sexuality education programs.
  • Family Life Victoria − Family Life provides primary school curriculum materials with their education programs.

Supporting sexual health resources

  • Talking Sexual Health – A teaching & learning resource for secondary schools − The Talking Sexual Health (2001) curriculum materials are primarily designed for students in Years 9 and 10 but are also suitable for students in Years 11 and 12. Many of the activities can also be modified for use with students in Years 7 and 8. The materials are similar to those included in Catching On for Years 9 and 10 (2005) with a strong focus on STIs and sexual health. The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, Victoria, developed this national resource for the Australian National Council for AIDS, Hepatitis C and Related Diseases (ANCAHRD). It is provided here with permission from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
  • HIV, Hepatitis and STI Education and Resource Centre −This Alfred Hospital centre offers a free service providing information and educational resources on sexually transmissible infections, hepatitis C and other blood borne viruses. See also: External Providers – HIV Hepatitis and STI Education and Resource Centre
  • Chlamydia (fact sheet) − An overview of the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of the disease from the Better Health Channel website. An overview of sexually transmissible infections is also available. A general perusal through Better Health Channel’s sexual health webpages is recommended.
  • HealthInsite − This website, an Australian Government initiative funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, provides the latest information on a variety of sexually transmissible infections and related topics.
  • DHHS Sexual Health − This website, hosted by the Communicable Disease Control Section of the Department of Human Services, provides the latest infectious diseases headlines (including sexually transmissible infections) for Victoria. The website includes a surveillance subpage that provides the latest data to pinpoint outbreaks and to prevent the spread of infection. The site will be particularly useful for student project work.
  • Sexhealth − Published by Queensland Health, Queensland Government, this website offers secondary school sexuality education teaching and student resources (including an English unit) and a wide range of fact sheets.
  • The Reach Out! Teachers' Network (pdf - 30.43kb) − Developed by the Inspire Foundation, a non-government organisation for young people’s health, this website provides fact sheets on a range of health subjects, including teenage pregnancy, sexual diversity, and teaching materials on relationships and peer pressure. See also: Reach Out! Sex and Relationships page
  • SexualityandU.Ca − This website, developed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), is provided as an example of leading teacher material from overseas with a focus on sexuality education.

Sexuality education for students – intellectual disabilities

  • Family Planning Victoria − Family Planning Victoria provides a specific professional training program and curriculum materials focusing on sexuality education for students with intellectual disabilities. The materials are in line with Victorian Government policy.

Sexuality education and drug education

  • Drug education − Many connections exist between sexuality education and drug education, ranging from learning and teaching that focuses on building resilience, developing good decision making and how to build healthy relationships.

Infectious diseases in sport

This booklet provides important infection control information and guidance for the teacher and others. A shorter, pamphlet version that only outlines the ‘blood rules’ is also provided. All sports, at both professional and amateur levels, should implement the guidelines.

The booklet and pamphlet are provided here with permission from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.​​​​

Teachers engaging parents

Shared responsibility

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 the primary school. A primary school parent engagement kit is currently being developed by this Department.

Parents Victoria

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: Parents Victoria

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

Respecting diversity

Curriculum planning guidelines

This Department’s curriculum planning guidelines include documents to assist teachers in identifying opportunities within the Victorian essential learning standards where material can be inclusive of same-sex attraction and gender diversity.

The documents were prepared through the Education Subcommittee of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Gay and Lesbian Health, Department of Human Services, on behalf of this Department.

See: Curriculum Planning Guidelines

SSAFE – same-sex attracted friendly environments in schools

This collection of resources was produced by the same-sex attracted friendly environments (SSAFE) in schools project, friendly planning Victoria and funded by the Premier’s drug prevention council and VicHealth. The SSAFE resources are now available here and throughout this Department’s sexuality education website and knowledge bank.

Kaleidoscope manual - lesson plan

This lesson plan (revised 2007) and its related resources originally appeared in the Kaleidoscope Manual (2004). The author Vivien Ray has provided the lesson plan with permission from the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service. The lesson plan can be used as presented or treated as an outline of suggested learning activities. (The resource lists were current at time of publication.)

Funding for the development of the Kaleidoscope Manual was made available through the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

For additional support resources, see: Prevention and Support

Student reading material

The Suitable Teaching and Learning Resources section within the school policy and advisory guide provides an outline of the decision-making processes associated with the use and selection of teaching and learning resources.

The section recognises that the coexistence of diverse values is an essential tenet of education. It also emphasises that controversial topics will often be appropriate and important subjects of study in schools and, at times, cannot be avoided in the context of teaching and learning.

See:

Primary school readers

  • A teacher’s manual is also available (located on the website’s Community Project page).

Website resources

Curriculum policy

Sexuality education is compulsory within the Health and Physical Education curriculum.

See: The Victorian Curriculum F - 10 Schools are expected to report on sexuality education achievement as with Mathematics, English, Science and so on, reflecting student learning against the VELS framework. While schools develop their own individual learning and teaching programs, all curriculum planned and taught across Victorian schools is assessed against these standards.

Specific reference to content relevant to sexuality starts at level four. Sexuality education at an earlier level relates to knowledge areas such as protective behaviours, understanding your body and family systems.

Assessment

Assessment in sexuality education includes both formative (occurring throughout the learning) and summative assessment.

Formative assessment includes observation of student participation in homework sheet activities, participation in class activities such as anonymous Q&A exercises, engagement in creative writing, student research and diary projects, participation in drama workshopping and supervision of student self-assessment.

The provision of feedback to students is an important component of formative assessment.

A whole-school learning approach

It is important to ensure a cross-curriculum approach and integration with health-related activities, such as school nursing and student wellbeing initiatives, thus promoting a whole-school learning approach. The school’s health and wellbeing staff can support you in this endeavour.

A whole-school learning approach also involves forming ongoing working partnerships with the local community and parents. Further information on the whole-school learning approach is provided at:

Teacher comfort

Feeling comfortable in teaching sexuality education is an important factor in a successful program. Forming partnerships with the local community and working with expert providers can help with this.

Many teachers report that ongoing peer support, developed through cluster meetings or through attending professional learning, can greatly assist with their level of comfort. Ongoing peer support can also be a good opportunity for resource and information sharing.