Sexuality is a core part of every person. It contributes to each individual's self-image, their sense of self-worth, and their relationships with other people. Sexuality education is a lifelong process that begins at home and is continued at school. A partnership that includes thorough consultation with parents will support schools to provide robust sexuality progammes
Changes at puberty affect young people physically and emotionally. Robust sexuality education programmes can equip students to manage changes as they occur. As some students will experience pubertal change earlier than others, a school that considers the needs of these students can provide support and systems to ensure this is a positive experience. What we know:
Limitations set by school authorities are most common in the area of sexual and repoductive health
There is a wide variation in the level of sexual health services provided by health professionals working in or by visiting schools
A positive trend can be seen in an analysis of three New Zealand Youth Surveys undertaken at intervals since 2001 It reveals that despite New Zealand's poor international rankings for suicide, teenage birth and injury; fewer students reported making suicide attempts, getting pregnant or engaging in risky driving behaviours in 2012 compared with 2001. (Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students: Trends 2001 - 2012)
Information and guidelines on ways to support sexual health in schools can be found in our Guidance documents section. In order to ensure sustainable changes in sexual health, it is important that these guidelines are implemented using a 'whole school approach'. This means embedding the sexual health messages and practices into Curriculum, teaching and learning, School organisation and ethos and Community links and partnerships.
To see examples of what other schools have done, check out our Case studies section, and be sure to look through our Resources for links to free toolkits, posters, books and other information to support your sexual health programme.