Sex ed schools across Australia are struggling to stay afloat in the face of a new national crackdown on the use of outdated, outdated curriculum materials.
Sex education has become a hot topic in recent months as parents have expressed concerns about the impact of outdated materials on their children and students.
There has also been widespread media coverage of sex ed teachers who have been fired for engaging in inappropriate behaviour, including one who was arrested for engaging “in sex acts on a child”.
But the current government’s education and information technology policies have led to an exodus of some of the country’s best-loved sex ed providers from the sector.
This includes Sydney’s only sex ed provider, the Sex Educators Association of NSW, which was forced to shut down last month.
“We’ve been inundated with inquiries about the current school curriculum and are trying to understand what to do next,” Sarah Wilson, the association’s secretary-general, said.
The SAEAN has been a registered sex education provider since 1988 and is the third-largest provider in NSW.
Its website says its mission is to educate the general public about sex education.
Ms Wilson said the SAEan’s members were being forced to either close down or leave.
But she said it had been inundate with inquiries from parents asking what they should do next.
It is important to note that the SADE is not a registered provider.
It is the national sex education association and therefore does not have any role in the selection of curriculum, or the funding of the SSEAN, Ms Wilson said.
“We would love to continue with our work, but we are facing a tough time in terms of the current political climate.”
But Sex Educator Association of Sydney chief executive Sarah Smith said the current policies had caused a significant loss of members.
She said many teachers had been left with no other option than to stop providing services and take a pay cut.
While there were many positives to being a sex educator, she said the new policies were putting pressure on the sector and left a lot of teachers feeling unsafe.
A former SAEEN president, Karen Leach, said the industry had suffered from a lack of information.
For the past year, she has been on a quest to raise awareness about the issues around sex education and the impact on children.
As she said, parents have been inundating her with questions about the sex ed curriculum.
And many of the questions she receives about sex ed are “misleading”, Ms Leach said.
“It’s really difficult to give accurate information and it can be very hard for people to understand,” she said.
”It’s also not a good place for people with disabilities, young people with learning difficulties, and anyone who has a disability to go to, because they are not safe.
I’m also concerned that it’s not the only issue that people have raised.
“As part of the education changes, all state schools will now require that students take an exam for their subject, but Ms Wilson says there was no requirement to do this before the curriculum was introduced.
Under the NSW Government’s current curriculum, it is compulsory for students to take the exam.
However, it has not been tested and there are no mandatory requirements for sex ed schools.
Some schools have also received training to teach sex ed, but it is not compulsory, Ms Leech said.
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I’ve spoken to teachers who say they are being asked to teach their own sex ed classes in their schools, and the curriculum is not in line with what they teach,” Ms Lech said.
Topics:education,schools,sex-education,education-industry,health,nsw,sydney-2000,narre Warrens-Dandenong-5000,sydsgow-2070,syderburn-2051,ladera-2050More stories from New South Wales