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From the Head of Wellbeing
As parents of young people growing up today, no doubt you’ve heard of the recent petition, launched by Chanel Contos, demanding better, and earlier, sex and consent education in schools.
Important Conversations around Consent
So many different stories have emerged through the petition. While it originated in Sydney, many Melbourne schools have now been named in association.
While Casey Grammar has not been mentioned, we would be foolish to pretend that this issue could not have affected any of our students, past or present, and that we should not necessarily heed the messages being presented.
Our existing programs around sex education, consent and respectful relationships are strong. However, we are conscious of community expectations and will ensure we remain at the forefront of all programs and practices in this area.
Upper Years of Junior School
Our current Sex Education programs begin in the upper years of Junior School. In recent years we’ve had the Family Life organisation visit Years 5 and 6 students and conduct an incursion across multiple days around sexuality, identity, body image, boundaries and consent.
Whilst the COVID restrictions meant Family Life could not visit us last year, we offered a comparable program through our Health and PE department which proved very successful. As a result of this success and to ensure continuity with our Year 7-10 curriculum, a secondary teacher will continue to deliver the program moving forward.
Of course, in Junior School, students are in regular conversations about Wellbeing and Personal Development with their classroom teachers. These can be formal conversations, as a class in circle time, or they can be in smaller groups as the need arises.
Secondary School Program
In Secondary School we explicitly teach sex education in Years 7, 8 and 9 as part of the Health curriculum. In Year 7, students complete units on identity, puberty and body development.
In Year 8 they undertake Positive Relationship, where communication is a key feature. In Year 9, a significant unit titled Respectful Relationships is completed.
This unit allows students to develop their understand of consent and builds their awareness of power within relationship. Year 9 students also complete a unit on Community and Street Smarts, which includes topics such as safe partying, alcohol and the law and helping peers stay safe.
Furthermore, this year in Years 7, 8 and 9 we have introduced Wellbeing Days—one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2. While they do not directly address the issues around consent raised in the petition, they are designed to help our students gain a better understanding of themselves and their relationships with their peers.
Strong Support Network
At Casey we also have a strong network of adults in place to support the students. We actively work to promote positive wellbeing and seek to enable the students to thrive.
Our classroom teacher, Wellbeing Mentors, Wellbeing Support Staff, Heads of House, Heads of School, the Nurse, our Counsellor, all of us, are here support the students.
We are a values driven School. We value compassion, excellence, respect, inclusion, and integrity. While these are all relevant, respect and integrity are at the heart of this issue in the broader community.
We will endeavour to do all we can to educate those currently in our care about the importance of personal integrity and respect of self and others.
It is our intention that the young people in our School will develop these values, understand the concept of consent and be active and caring members of the broader community.
Conversations at Home
Clearly, conversations at home are also essential for young people to develop and solidify their learnings. Should you like to access any information regarding ways to have such conversations, please see the resources and links offered below.
Should this article or any current news raise concerns for any of our students, past or present, they are encouraged to seek support from the School directly or from any of the organisations below.
More information about consent:
- The Consent is as easy as FRIES is a useful model.
- This viral YouTube clip shows how consent is as easy as a cup of tea.
- The parent resource Talk Soon. Talk Often. provides some ideas on how to start a conversation about consent with your child.
- Headspace and KidsHelpline also has some useful resources for young people.
Mr Peter Shepard
Head of Student Wellbeing