As you are aware, much has been shared in the media aimed at promoting better education around responsible sexual conduct and consent. Our young people have voiced their preference for practical information about how to navigate respectful, intimate relationships, particularly regarding consent and communication skills. With this in mind, a working party was formed mid-term one and has worked solidly to develop a comprehensive educational program designed to meet the needs of our students across the different year levels.
The working party initially concentrated their efforts on completing an audit and review of our current pastoral and curricular programs that link to respectful relationships and consent and sought opinion and advice from experts in the field such as Dr Tessa Opie. Members of the working party have also been deliberate in their engagement in a variety of professional learning to improve their understanding of this important topic. Professional learning has included topics such as ‘Responsible Sexual Citizenship in Today’s World: The Challenge Facing Boys’, ‘Consent and Sexual Violence’, ‘Comprehensive Relationships and Sexuality Education’. Further to this, the working party has been accumulating a range of teaching and learning resources that will aid in our planning and are easily accessible to staff.
Towards the end of the term, Scott Parker and I met with a number of staff from single gender schools in Adelaide, which provided a wonderful opportunity to share our programs and resources, learn from each other and determine ways we might collaborate to develop and consistent and common approach. I have also met with the Deputy Principal at Seymour and the Head of Middle School at Wilderness School to discuss opportunities for our students to work together. Further details regarding these planned activities will be communicated once finalised.
To ensure a school wide approach to respectful relationships and consent, Dr Tessa Opie will work closely with our school community to provide expert advice and information through a variety of different channels. Dr Tessa Opie, founder of in your skin, is an advocate for safe and consenting relationships among young people. Tessa’s approach to sexuality and relationships education requires students to actively consider their relationship values, attitudes and expectations, and to develop a healthy and realistic sense of self and others. Information presented is sex positive, evidence based, and harm reduction focused.
On Monday 17 May, Dr Opie will facilitate workshop for all staff at the College. Furthermore, parents are warmly invited to attend a Parent Information Evening on Monday 17 May beginning at 7pm in ANZAC Hall. More information pertaining to booking tickets to this special parent event will be communicated shortly. On Tuesday 25 May, Dr Opie will speak with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 about respectful relationships and consent at individual year level sessions. Middle school students will also attend information sessions with Dr Opie on Wednesday 11 August (Term 3).
Having worked with Dr Opie over a number of years, I am confident that our staff, parents and students will find the information shared to be highly informative and valuable.
In the lead up to the information sessions, students will be surveyed so that we can ascertain what components of our current program are working well and how we might design and tailor future programs to better meet the needs of students across different year levels. Exploring ways, we can capture student voice and engage student agency will remain a focus.
The working party is now investigating the best means to engage in teacher training and professional learning with the aim of further equipping our staff with the skills and support needed to confidently deliver this important program.
I look forward to sharing further developments with you and, importantly, welcoming you to our Parent Information Evening on Monday 17 May at 7pm.
Deputy Headmaster/Head of Secondary School