Must try harder, schools told over sex education

NZ Herald August 24, 2007
Most schools are failing to meet students’ needs in sex education lessons, casting doubt on classroom efforts to cut the number of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The Education Review Office assessed the quality of sexuality education programmes in Years 7 to 13 in 100 primary and secondary schools and found many were adopting a “one size fits all” approach. Of special concern were the 20 per cent of schools that had “substantial weaknesses” in their teaching of sexuality education, the ERO found. Two areas of particular weakness were discovered across schools: a lack of assessment of student learning and a failure to meet the needs of diverse groups of students.The ERO has made a series of recommendations on how to improve sexuality education in schools, which its report described as “not effectively meeting students’ learning needs” at most schools. Sexuality education in schools became a requirement in 2001, but some students have been exempted since then, mostly on the grounds of religious and cultural beliefs. The Family Planning Association said yesterday it had been concerned since 2001 that there was no consistency in delivering the curriculum.