NET - Promoting wellbeing through sexuality education - Information for students

This is information about the 'Promoting wellbeing through sexuality education' NET for students (Year 7 and above)

ERO is interested in

How your school has supported your wellbeing through providing useful sexuality education.

What is sexuality education?

 Sexuality education is part of Health and Physical Education in The New Zealand Curriculum. It is an important way to support young people’s wellbeing, which is important for success.

Sexuality education is about more than just bodies, puberty and sex. It can also be a way to learn about yourself, and to learn how to be positive, respectful and supportive of others.

Why are we evaluating this?

ERO looked at the sexuality education schools were providing in 2007. We found that most schools with Year 7‑13 students were not meeting students’ learning needs effectively. They were particularly weak at meeting the needs for diverse groups of students.

In 2015, the Ministry of Education released an updated guide for schools to help them provide good quality sexuality education. ERO is interested in how schools are using the guide to review and plan sexuality education.

ERO worked with a wide variety of agencies and academics with an interest in the area of young people’s sexuality education. 

What should I be learning in sexuality education?


Sexuality education content

Intermediate (years 7‑8)

Students will learn about:

  • how to support themselves and others during pubertal change and develop a positive body image
  • intimate relationships and sexual attraction
  • respect and communication skills
  • processes of conception and child birth

Students will:

  • identify health care resources in the community
  • critically explore how gender and sexuality messages affect well-being
  • plan strategies to support inclusion, diversity, and respect in friendships and relationships (including in online environments)
  • analyse how sexuality is represented in social media and mass media, and critique dominant messages
  • develop assertiveness skills and recognise instances of bullying and discrimination
  • question and discuss gender norms.

Junior secondary (years 9‑10)

Students will learn about:

  • intimate relationships and explore positive sexual health
  • managing their own sexual health and how to access health care
  • long-term and short-term effects of sexual decisions  
  • conception, contraception, sexually transmissible infections, and other aspects of sexual decision-making
  • sexual diversity and gender identity
  • the physical and emotional effects of sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual maturation

Students will:

  • critique dominant cultural messages about sexual behaviour (including those in mass and online media)
  • identify skills for positive and supportive intimate relationships
  • discuss human rights, consent, and the importance of choice and agency in relationships
  • explore online and social media environments plan strategies for positive and supportive engagement
  • plan strategies for seeking help and support will be planned.

Senior secondary (years 11‑13)

Students will:

  • critically analyse a wide range of issues relating to gender, sexuality, and sexual health
  • explore pressure, social norms, gender identity, and cultural issues relating to sexual health
  • evaluate community agencies, the politics of sexuality and sexual health, and recognise positive and supportive intimate relationships
  • critically analyse issues of safety and risk, and research positive sexual health practices
  • identify future sexual health needs and critique cultural norms.
  • work across the school to affirm diversity, human rights, and positive sexuality, as well as to advocate for access to support and health care.


It is recommended that all students engage in sexuality education in years 11–13. This should not be limited to students completing courses and standards in health education under the NCEA.

From: Sexuality Education: a guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers (MOE, 2015)


ERO would like to speak with some students in Years 7 or above about their experiences of sexuality education.  ERO will only talk to students in small groups.

If the school has a student support or advocacy group (such as a Queer/Straight Alliance or feminist group), ERO may also speak to students who are members of this group.

Your parents may not want you to talk to ERO about sexuality education, or you might not be happy to talk to ERO about it. If you or your parents do not want you to talk to ERO about sexuality education, please let your teachers know. They will make sure that ERO reviewers only talk to people who are happy to talk.

If you would like to share some information with ERO, but do not want to speak with the review officers while they are at your school, you can let us know through this link.

Anything you share through this link will be anonymous. Please discuss with your principal/teachers and parents before commenting through this link.

What we will do with the information we collect

The overall findings from reviews of schools in Term 2 and early Term 3, 2017 will be aggregated for a national report on schools’ implementation of sexuality education to support the wellbeing of their students.

If we want to use any specific examples from the school in the report, we will check the details with the school first. We will not identify any schools or individuals in our report.

If you share information with ERO Review Officers that makes them think that there is a risk to your safety or somebody else’s safety, or if you share information about being bullied, assaulted or harassed, the review officers may need to talk to senior staff at your school, or your school’s Board of Trustees. Review Officers will follow your school’s child protection policy to make sure they talk to the right people. This is to make sure that you and others are kept safe.

If you would like to speak to someone about any questions or concerns you have, you could talk to a trusted teacher, guidance counsellor, your dean or another adult you trust. There are professionals available for you to talk to if you do not want to talk to anyone you know. The ERO review officers can give you some contact information for professionals, or you can ask an adult you trust to help you find a professional to talk to.


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