By Amy Schostakowski, Sarah McVeigh
A new study from Family Planning Queensland reveals 91 per cent of Queensland parents support school-based sexuality and relationships education.
Family Planning Queensland spokeswoman Cecelia Gore said of the 300 parents of children in grades six to nine surveyed, most wanted the education to start from the age of four.
“By far the majority of parents want their children to be learning the things they need to learn as soon as possible,” she said.
Parents and Citizens Association of Queensland state president Margaret Leary says the age parents would like the topic to be discussed varies greatly depending on the context of the situation.
“I had to start talking to my daughter about it a lot earlier than what I wanted because my sister-in-law was pregnant,” she said.
She said it is important we tell our children the truth when they start asking questions about sexual education.
“Particularly about things that relate to them and their body, and relationships that might happen around them – be as truthful as you can and if you don’t know the answer just say that,” she said.
Ms Leary said the majority of parents appreciate a teacher beginning this sometimes difficult conversation.
“That provides them with a talking point, and it is better to have someone who knows their stuff talking about it because people do doubt their own knowledge about these things,” she said.
Specific topics and areas regarding sexual education are not specified in the Queensland curriculum, unlike other states.
Ms Gore said in Queensland it is up to individual schools and teachers to decide how much and how often they would like to incorporate teaching in this area.
“We would like the department (of education) to give a really clear message to schools that this is just as important an area as numeracy or literacy in terms of what students should be learning about,” she said.
Family Planning Queensland said this new study should help teachers feel supported by parents to teach their children about sexual health and relationships.
“Really what we want is every school and every teacher having a plan for how they are going to address these issues in their classroom,” said Ms Gore.