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As Head of SEPD I am delighted to share with you the exciting progress happening in this important School initiative.

18 June 2021

Through the Principal’s Sabbatical Report it became clear that we needed to add more opportunities for students to build their social, emotional and personal capacity.

As compulsory Health education finishes at Year 9, there was a gap in the SEPD learning area for Years 10, 11 and 12 students. Last year we implemented a Year 10 SEPD program for two lessons per week for a semester. This was a great success and we have now added a Year 11 program for one lesson per week across the year. We are about to rollout a Semester 1 SEPD program for Year 12s in 2022 and are delighted that this program is continuing to grow.

This curriculum has been created using the latest research from organisations such as the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA); Keeping Safe CPC; Shine SA; Reach Out; Youth Beyond Blue; eSafety Commission; and Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA). We use overarching themes throughout Year 7 Health to Year 11 SEPD, creating continuity and development of skills, knowledge and understanding in the essential topics studied in Health and SEPD.

The SEPD curriculum encompasses the following four main units of exploration:

1. Sexual Health and Relationships – covers respectful relationships, gender equality, abuse of power, reshaping masculinity, LGBTQIA+, celebrating diversity, consent, contraception, STIs, pornography, sexting, national data and the law.

2. Drugs and Alcohol – covers effects on the teen brain, vehicle safety, strategies for safe partying, psychology of addiction, inability to consent when intoxicated, drug options and their risks, and national data.

3. Mental Health – covers help-seeking, social connectedness, anxiety and depression, bipolar and schizophrenia, perfectionism and procrastination, grief and loss, mindset and resilience, eating disorders and body image, self-harm and self-compassion, self-regulation of time on screens, sleep, stress management and positive strategies for wellbeing.

4. Social Responsibility and Justice – covers citizenship, volunteerism, developing a service culture and a call to action.

The SEPD teacher team have had special training to be equipped to explore these big topics with young people and are delighted to have time in the curriculum to do this important work. These lessons are enhanced by a series of excellent speakers that the School invites in to further unpack these topics, as outlined below.

Year 7 – Carly Ryan Foundation (CRF) Online Safety
Carly Ryan was 15 years old when she was murdered by an online predator. It was the first crime of its type in Australia, occurring in 2007 when social media was a new phenomenon and paedophiles were starting to infiltrate the online space. The CRF is a certified online safety program provider under the Office of the eSafety Commissioner that delivers online safety and healthy relationship seminars to students and parents. The organisation also provides a range of services and support in the areas of internet safety and crime, cyberbullying, and contributing to law and policy reform.

Year 8 – Inspire for Girls and Odyssey for Boys.

These workshops are tailored specifically to the needs of adolescents. Presenters keep up to date with latest trends in youth culture including gender constraints and identity, mateship and friendship, respectful relationships, drugs and alcohol, anger and other emotions, decision-making and mental health. After the full-day workshops students emerge healthier, wiser, more connected with one another, more secure and confident in who they are as individuals, and better equipped to navigate the world and discover who they will become as young men and women.

Year 9 – Taryn Brumfitt Body Image Movement (BIM).
This is an internationally recognised crusade founded on the belief that your body is not an ornament. BIM believes that everyone has the right to embrace their body regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability. BIM, headed by founder Taryn Brumfitt, is teaching the world to love the skin they’re in. Body image was ranked the number one concern of both girls and boys aged 11–24 years in a recent Australian survey. Current estimates show that the incidence of body dissatisfaction in Australian adolescents is at least 75% for girls and 50% for boys. Of the Australian adolescents in a healthy weight range, approximately 50% of girls and 33% of boys believe they are overweight. This is leading to an alarming increase in disordered eating among our young people.

Year 10 – Street Smart High.

Road crashes are one of the leading causes of death for people under the age of 25. To help change this, RAA runs an annual road safety event that demonstrates the realities of road trauma and gives young and soon-to-be drivers the knowledge they need to stay safe on the road. Students will witness a simulated crash scene, including pre- and post-crash analysis, hear from young people whose lives have been affected by road trauma, and learn road safety skills and knowledge.

Years 10, 11 and 12 – Paul Dillon from DARTA.

These workshops give students accurate and up-to-date alcohol and other drug information based on the latest research. They are sequenced to give more detail, complexity and relevance to the developmental stages across Years 10–12.

Years 11 and 12 – Dr Tessa Opie, In Your Skin.

An advocate for healthy and consenting relationships, Tessa’s approach is sex-positive, evidence based and harm-reduction focused. It actively requires participants to consciously consider their relationship values, attitudes and expectations in a social climate that feeds us often misleading messages about sex and relationships. Tessa has recently published a paper that considers the role of sex-positive education in the prevention of sexual assault among high school students. Her clear message about enthusiastic consent versus coercion is essential and delivered both respectfully and inclusively.

Rebecca Forrest
Head of SEPD