Over the past two weeks, students in Years 8 and 10 have attended a series of seminars produced by YourChoicez – an organisation that seeks to educate students about developing healthy relationships.
Students already benefit from a Personal Development syllabus that provides excellent grounding in these areas and a Pastoral Care program designed to facilitate healthy discussion. The YourChoicez seminars supplement this teaching with cutting-edge material from top-quality speakers.
These seminars are part of ongoing efforts within the school to have meaningful conversations about subjects that are all too often neglected by wider society. The YourChoicez team cover a variety of topics including anger management, consent, online relationships, sexting, pornography use, drug and alcohol misuse and the value of the human person.
On the day, students were broken into groups according to their year and gender. They then listened to a presentation that was tailored to speak into the issues most commonly associated with their age and stage. For Year 8, the focus was about what it means to have healthy emotional and physical boundaries.
Deputy Head of Middle School Rebecca Leeds oversees Years 7, 8 and 9 to ensure students have access to the right pastoral programs and support networks. Speaking about YourChoicez she said, “We’ve got them in so students can hear from the professionals about particular issues and then also take what they’ve learnt back into our pastoral system to have ongoing conversations.”
Over the coming weeks, the conversations will continue within tutorial groups, encouraging students to ask follow-up questions and engage in deeper discussions, guided by their pastoral teachers.
“Unfortunately it’s not a one thing fixes all situation,” Ms Leeds said. “It has to be an ongoing conversation and when we give students the time to consider these topics, then it becomes easier for the student to know where to seek help and how to support others.”
Head of School, Dr John Collier, said “the school will partner with parents across all of the difficult areas of teenage sexuality, but we cannot do this alone without wise advice to young people from parents. Schools and parents need to be aware of any culture of entitlement among young people which may manifest itself unhelpfully in these areas.”
These programs, alongside the concerted efforts of parents, aim to raise up a generation of young people who know how to maintain healthy relationships.