Family Planning calls for action now on relationship and sexuality education
Family Planning hopes a new report
on relationship and sexuality education will finally be enough to spur on action.
This morning, the Education Review Office (ERO) released a new report on relationship and sexuality education in New
Zealand primary and secondary schools. As expected, the report shows that little has changed in over a decade with
nearly half of schools struggling to teach this area of the curriculum.
The report shows there has been little change in over a decade in the area of sexuality education in New Zealand. This
is despite many experts and health promotion agencies like Family Planning loudly calling for action.
“Our children and young people deserve better. They need better.” Family Planning Chief Executive Office Jackie Edmond
“Young people need to be able to make responsible decisions about relationships and sexuality. They need to be equipped
to manage the complexities of online interactions and consent.”
Family Planning supports the report recommendations that the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health work with
experts like Family Planning and Te Whāriki Takapou to support teachers, schools and the community to deliver a
comprehensive programme to all young people in New Zealand.
Family Planning wants to see every school and every hard-working teacher and principal provided the resources and
support they need to effectively implement good quality relationship and sexuality education so that young people can
build the skills, knowledge and values to navigate this area of their lives.
As sexuality education spans a number of sectors – education, public health and violence prevention – it is vital to
have a strategic and integrated approach at the national level. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, as the
most critical stakeholders, should provide leadership and coordination so funding and resources for relationship and
sexuality education are cost-effective.
Teachers and schools must be well-supported with on-going professional development. This will help reduce the number of
outside organisations swooping in and out to deliver programmes – an approach which is not best practice and is
Evidence clearly shows that relationship and sexuality education is best when it is delivered by qualified teachers and
where trust, diversity, equality and inclusiveness are reinforced through the wider school culture.
The report’s recommendations must be actioned now. New Zealand’s young people cannot wait.