Human sexuality focus day

THE WAY human sexuality and relationships are currently being taught in Archdiocesan schools is well and truly on the agenda after more than 60 secondary staff came together at St Christopher’s Pastoral Centre in Manuka for a focus day recently.

Each of the 13 secondary schools in the Archdiocese were represented with presentations and discussions honing in on what can be done to better to support teachers in serving the young people in their care.

What resulted was an unusual but dynamic gathering of teachers of PDHPE, RE and Science as well as those involved in Pastoral Care.

Paddy McGrath, Head of RE and Curriculum at Catholic Education (CE), opened the day with a reflection on human flourishing, while Vicar General Fr Tony Percy provided a brief presentation on the foundations of Catholic Teaching on Human Sexuality.

Marriage, Family and Relationships Coordinator Lara Kirk organised, emceed and presented at the forum.

She said the day came about following repeated requests from teachers, particularly in Health and Physical Education, for more support and guidance in teaching this important area of the curriculum.

“In 2016 a working group was set up to look at the issue and in August this year the Vicar General, Fr Tony Percy and the Episcopal Vicar for Education, Fr John Woods wrote to all school principals asking them to nominate staff members from any area of school life in which issues of sexuality were addressed,” she said.

“In preparation for the day, principals were also asked to distribute an online survey to all PDHPE, RE and Science teachers as well as to Pastoral Care staff.”

Phil Corson also from CE discussed the results of the teacher survey and guest speaker Daryl Castellino from Catholic Education Parramatta, presented resources from various dioceses.

Teachers provided feedback throughout the day which, together with the survey results, will help shape a strategic and supported approach the teaching of Human Sexuality and Relationships going forward.