Sexual education programmes within school based learning have long been cause for controversy,

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Sexual education programmes within school based learning have long been cause for controversy, particularly in reference to which approach should be taken, what topics should be raised and at what age children should be begin to learn about sexual development and sexuality. Previously, sex education has focused on the biological development of humans however in recent years programs have shifted towards integration of sexuality and sexual health promotion in response to sexual development within children and the changing values of society. Sex education curriculum has often been the subject of debate as curriculum has varied between states and schools within Australia, where syllabus documents allowed schools to adopt the contents to meet…show more content…
These discourses focused on preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS to legitimise sexual activity, where information was purely factual and scientific understandings of body development and largely explained sexuality in terms of reproduction. While this approach educated students about methods of safe sexual practices to reduce and prevent physical consequences it still failed to address the psychological factors and influences of sexual relationships ( ).

As the beliefs, values and norms of Australia began to shift, a more comprehensive sexuality education program was developed in 1988 which focused on Human Relationship Education as well as the biological factors previously addressed in sex education (Goldman, 2010). Sexuality education was described in the 1999 Health and Physical Education curriculum for New Zealand, as a lifelong process acquiring information and forming values, beliefs and attitudes about identity, relationship and intimacy (Sinkinson, 2009). It includes the biological, psychosocial and socio-cultural dimensions of sexual health and incorporates personal rights and responsibilities, relationship negotiations and skills to communicate effectively (Sinkinson, 2009; ). By engaging in a

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