Primary school parents’ perspectives on relationships and sexuality education in Queensland, Australia

Year: 2021

Author: Moran, Claire

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Background: Primary school educators in Australia are often uncertain about parents’ perspectives when it comes to teaching about relationships and sexuality education in schools. Teachers, school leaders, parents and the broader community continue to struggle with the best way to educate children about the many topics that fall under the banner of relationships and sexuality educationMethods:Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six parents in Brisbane, who had one or more children attending years 4, 5 or 6 (approximately ages 9–12 years old) in primary school. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to develop themes from the interviews.  Results:The analysis resulted in three main themes: the need for RSE; what RSE should look like; and RSE in practice, with each containing a number of subthemes.   The first theme, the need for RSE, highlighted the commonly held view that RSE is necessary in primary schools and had three subthemes: ‘the world has changed’, ‘mitigating risk’ and ‘responsibility’. The second theme, what RSE should look like, described parent’s perspectives on what RSE should look like and comprised three sub themes: ‘ethos’, ‘what RSE should cover’ and ‘who decides’. The third theme, RSE in practice, comprised two subthemes: ‘actual RSE’ and ‘parental uncertainty’  and focused on the realities of RSE provision.