19 December 2022
This term I was asked to speak at a national conference for educators in Queensland about our program, particularly how we teach Sexual Health and Respectful Relationships at Pembroke. This is testament to the high regard in which our SEPD program is held nationally.
One area of significant growth is the Pembroke and Parents Partnership (PPP). This is a series of parent information evenings, held at least once per term, focussing on SEPD topics of interest to parents. We now invite the wider Adelaide parent community to these free public talks by high profile keynote speakers. Our 2022 speakers include John Joseph (Parenting with the Brain in Mind), Dr Kristy Goodwin (Digital Wellbeing – Kids, Teens, and Screens), Madonna King (L Platers – Understanding Girls), Dr Tom Nehmy (Seven Secrets to a Healthy Mind), Dr Justin Coulson (Happy Families) and Andrew Lines (Raising Respectful and Resilient Young People, pictured below with Rebecca Forrest). These must-see events are highlights on the Pembroke calendar and demonstrate our passion to be in true partnership with parents.
We also run a comprehensive series of SEPD student workshops and excursions for Years 7 to 12 on age-appropriate, contemporary topics that are engaging and memorable for adolescents and leave them better equipped for the adult world. Some of the workshop topics include cyber bullying, sexual health and consent, road safety awareness, digital wellbeing, and mental health. Each year we expand these offerings for Pembroke students.
This year one of our new initiatives was taking the Year 11 cohort to Flinders University for a whole day. This excursion was entitled, ‘Leading Change in our Community’. The experience involved interactive workshops, facilitated by university students and staff, focused on developing our students’ leadership skills. This was an excellent opportunity for students to frame conceptual and theoretical issues associated with activism, communication, community mobilisation and lobbying. Pembroke students developed their skills of public speaking, organisation, and teamwork and enjoyed experiencing a day in the life of a university student. For many this was a glimpse into their near future and was both inspiring and motivating.
These student workshops reinforce the SEPD curriculum taught weekly by our group of dedicated, passionate, highly trained teachers, all with a level of comfort for unpacking big topics in the classroom. These topics include sexual health, consent, pornography, LGBTQIA+ issues, abuse, hyper-masculinity, mental health, drugs and alcohol, to name a few. We have had several teachers from other schools visit Pembroke to learn about our SEPD program, as educators are grappling with the best way to roll out a curriculum that puts students at the centre and equips them for the next stage of life.
Our SEPD lessons are created using the latest research and findings from organisations such as ACARA, Keeping Safe Child Protection Curriculum, Shine SA, Reach Out, Youth Beyond Blue, eSafety Commission and DARTA. Strong student-teacher rapport is at the core of SEPD lessons ensuring students feel cared for, safe to be curious and ask tricky questions, respected, and listened to. We are constantly seeking student feedback as we strive to continuously improve our program.
Head of Social, Emotional and Personal Development