How sexual education is taught in New Zealand

You may be interested in how sexuality education is taught in New Zealand, how you can support your child’s learning, and how you can have your say.

Sexuality education is part of the health and physical education area of The New Zealand Curriculum, and sits within the broader area of relationship education. In sexuality education children and young people learn about themselves and develop knowledge and skills about acting in positive and respectful ways with others.

Effective sexuality education takes a positive view of sexual development as a natural part of growing up. It is vital to the overall well-being of young people. In New Zealand health and physical education is compulsory in years 1-10 and can be taken as an option in years 11-13 with NCEA achievement standards. What is the sexuality education guide? Schools may use the sexuality education guide to help them plan and develop their programmes.

The guide has been updated to take account of new research and reflect social changes in the last decade. What will my child learn? The kinds of things your child will learn in sexuality education will be appropriate for her or his age. What children learn at each level is guided by the national curriculum, but individual schools and communities decide how this will be taught.

At primary school children are likely to learn about:

  • friendships
  • different kinds of families
  • respect for each other and people who are different from them.

In the later years of primary they may also learn about:

  • puberty
  • body development and image n human reproduction
  • risks and issues that can arise online and when using social media.

At secondary school young people are likely to learn about:

  • positive and supportive intimate relationships n contraception
  • managing their health
  • the influence that society has on how we view things like gender and sexuality.

Do schools have to consult with parents? Boards of trustees must consult with school communities at least once every two years on their draft health curriculum. This may include how the school will implement health education, including sexuality education. Remember, this is your chance to ask questions, share your ideas, and express your views about what you would like to see happen in this part of the curriculum.


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