Policy last updated
16 April 2021
- School councils
The purpose of this policy is to emphasise the importance of sexuality education in Victorian government schools, including the teaching of consent, and to explain the role that principals, teaching staff and the school community, play in providing sexuality education to students.
- Sexuality and consent are part of the Victorian Curriculum, mandated for Government and Catholic schools in Victoria.
- The teaching of consent in all government schools in an age-appropriate way from Foundation to Year 12 is mandatory. Guidance and resources are available to support schools in educating students on consent.
- Comprehensive sexuality education is most effective when it has a whole-school learning approach and is underpinned by a strong research evidence base.
- Schools are not required to seek parental permission for the inclusion of sexuality or consent .
- However, a parent or carer may decide not to allow their child to participate in sexual education.
All students must receive a comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual health education aligned to the Victorian Curriculum, including the teaching of consent.
However, a parent or carer may decide not to allow their child to participate in the sexual health component of the school’s health education.
Working with parents and carers
Productive partnerships between schools, family and the community also provide a strong network of connections that can help young people build social, emotional and positive relationship skills.
The role of the parent or carer is an important part of the shared responsibility of sexuality education and the school should actively support parent engagement activities.
School-based sexuality education programs are more effective when they are developed in consultation with parents and the local community.
In recognition of a shared responsibility for sexuality education, school leaders may cultivate strategic partnerships with the local community and parents.
The role of school leadership in sexuality education
The school’s leadership team provides the overall support for the sexuality education program. Generally, this is through:
- endorsing the development and ongoing provision of a program that best meets the learning needs of the student population
- ensuring appropriate consultation through the school council
- supporting staff training to ensure teaching staff have the ability to teach and assess sexuality education against the Victorian Curriculum
- ensuring consent is taught in an age-appropriate way
- committing the necessary staff time and resources
- demonstrating an understanding of the importance of sexuality education
- communicating support for sexuality education to the school community
- driving the shared responsibility approach to sexuality education
- assisting the school community to reach a shared understanding when there are different views about sexuality education
- communicating that the provision of comprehensive sexuality education is most effective when it has a whole-school learning approach and is underpinned by a strong research evidence-base.
Principals must ensure that consent is taught in an age-appropriate way from Foundation to Year 12. Guidance and resources are available to support this
The role of the school council
Consultation with school council regarding the sexuality education curriculum is not required but principals may choose to take the curriculum or relevant teaching and learning resources to school council for discussion or noting so that the school council is aware of the way in which sexual education curriculum is organised at the school.
The role of community agencies and external providers
Community agencies and external providers such as community health centres, local council youth programs and peak bodies representing specific cultural groups may assist schools in developing comprehensive sexuality education programs in alignment with the Victorian Curriculum.
Supporting LGBTIQ students
Schools must support and respect sexuality diversity, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and gender diverse, Intersex, and Queer and questioning (LGBTIQ) students.
For specific information relating to support for same-sex attracted, gender diverse, transgender and intersex students, refer to the Department's policy on LGBTIQ Student Support.
For more information about sexuality education, teaching programs, professional learning and resources, refer to Sexuality on the Department’s website.
For more information about the Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education, refer to the Health and Physical Education on the VCAA website.
For more information on teaching and implementing Respectful Relationships from Prep to Year 12, refer to the Respectful page.
For classroom teaching resources, refer to Consent on FUSE.
To give consent is to give free agreement without fear, force or pressure.
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
- Training on the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships package is available. Contact email@example.com to register your interest.
- Respectful Relationships Area-based teams offer professional learning to schools to support their implementation of the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and to build the capacity of school staff using the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships teaching and learning materials.
- The VCAA have developed a series of on-demand to support teachers and schools in the planning, implementation and assessment of Respectful Relationships in the Victorian Curriculum F–10.
- Sexual Health Victoria offers professional for teachers at all levels.
- VCAA F-10 — the Victorian Curriculum F-10 sets out what every student should learn during their first 11 years of schooling, including health education.
- Sexuality — a Department resource which contains information about sexuality education curriculum, teaching programs, professional learning and resources for schools.
- Consent Education — this guidance note explains consent and outlines how to use existing teaching resources to teach consent in an age appropriate way, including Respectful Relationships teaching and learning materials.
Department of Education and Training consent education resources
- Resilience, Rights and Respectful — this age-appropriate resource includes lesson plans and activities that help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life and relationships.
- Building Respectful — this age-appropriate resource includes lesson plans and activities that help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life and relationships.
- Catching on is an evidence-based and age-appropriate teaching and learning resource available to support the delivery of sexuality education to Foundation to Year 6 students.
- Catching on is an evidence-based and age-appropriate teaching and learning resource available to support the delivery of sexuality education to Year 7 to 10 students. Age-appropriate consent education classroom activities are included in the resource.
External consent education resources
- Sexual assault – The Better Health — this resource explains what sexual assault is and outlines what to do if you have been sexually assaulted.
- Sex – are you ready – The Better Health — this resource helps the reader figure out if or when they’re ready for a sexual relationship.
- Learning the law – Victoria Legal — this free teaching and learning module on consent covers laws to do with consent and sexual assault, where to get help, and prevention.
Working with parents and or carers
- The Respectful Relationships Resource outlines the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships, including engaging with parents, carers and the broader school community.
- Talking to children and young people about relationships, sex and sexuality – The Better Health — this resource provides advice for how parents and carers can have conversations with their child about relationships, sex and sexuality.
External support services
The services listed below are available to help students who need support:
- 1800 provides family violence and sexual assault counselling and is available via telephone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Sexual assault support centres against sexual assault provide 24-hour crisis support and can be accessed without first reporting to police.
- Kids provides counselling support service for young people aged 5 to 25 years old and for parents, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Parentline provides parenting counselling support service 8 am to midnight, 7 days a week, including support for parents experiencing family violence.
- provides tailored and holistic mental health support from 9 am to 1 am, 7 days a week, to young people aged 12 to 25 years old. The website also provides resources and a local directory for headspace .
Reviewed 15 April 2021