According to a new study released by Western Sydney University, 82 percent of Australian parents want gender and sexuality diversity discussed in the classroom. The study, conducted by Associate Professor Jacqueline Ullman and Associate Professor Tania Ferfolja from the School of Education, is the first of its kind in Australia to comprehensively survey parents on the topic.
The research found that:
- 94 percent of parents want Relationships and Sexuality Education delivered in government schools.
- 82 percent of parents support the curriculum inclusion of gender and sexuality diversity topics for all school students, from kindergarten to Year 12.
- Most parents want to see gender and sexuality diversity introduced in the curriculum in primary school and the early years of high school.
- The majority of parents support parents, schools and teachers all being involved in Relationships and Sexuality Education.
The research found that overall, there was very strong parental support for including gender and sexual diversity topics in school-based relationships and sexual health education programs.
Associate Professor Ferfolja added that “the findings challenge some myths about what parents think about including these topics in schools. In fact, we found that even conservative religious parents supported the inclusion of these topics in the curriculum.”
The survey, which polled 2,000 Australian parents, also found that there was majority support for gender and sexuality diversity being taught in both primary and secondary schools. This is an important finding, as it suggests that these topics should be introduced at an early age to create a more inclusive society.
Parents who participated in the survey noted a number of reasons why they believed that gender and sex diversity should be taught in schools. Some felt that it was important for students to learn about different families and relationships, while others believed that it was crucial for students to develop a better understanding of themselves and others.
“This research provides valuable evidence that will help inform policymakers about what parents want for their children’s education,” said Associate Professor Ullman. “It is clear that there is a strong desire from parents for schools to play a role in fostering inclusion and respect for all members of the community.”
The study’s release comes at a time when the Australian government is considering making changes to the national curriculum to include more focus on gender and sexuality diversity. These proposed changes have been met with opposition from some groups, but it appears that the majority of Australian parents are in favour of such inclusion.
For more information, please refer to Landmark study released on gender and sexual diversity education in schools | Western Sydney University