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Changes in Sexuality Education Teacher Training Since the Release of the Australian Curriculum



Teachers need training to provide high-quality sexuality education to adolescents. The recent release of a new Australian health curriculum provides a timely opportunity to examine the experiences of Australian sexuality education teachers since the release of this curriculum.


Australian teachers who had taught sexuality education since the 2015 release of the national health curriculum (N = 239) participated in this cross-sectional survey between 2017 and 2018. Survey items investigated teaching and training experiences; comfort with, and hours spent teaching, sexuality education; and the topics taught. Analyses included comparative means, correlations, and a standard multiple regression.


Half of the sample taught health while the other half taught seven other subjects. Teachers who had received any training or professional development had higher scores on having had the “right” training (all ps < 0.005) and spent more hours on delivery of sexuality education (p ≤ 0.001); 10–20 h or more of training was more strongly affirmed as useful. Earlier training or professional development increased overall comfort, and comfort was the biggest predictor of increased content delivered (beta = − 0.278, p = 0.001). Training after new curricular requirements only aided comfort around “new material,” specifically, gender and sexual diversity (p = 0.007).


This study confirms that the amount and types of training received, perceived usefulness of that training, comfort delivering various parts of the curriculum, and the time spent in the classroom delivering sexuality education all support the delivery of high-quality sexuality education in schools.

Policy Implications

Results indicate that any Australian teacher could be required to teach sexuality education. Therefore, universities should supply pre-service teacher training in sexuality education across all degree programs. Education leaders should supply early professional development for new sexuality education teachers to enhance overall comfort, and subsequent professional development focused on “new material” or updates.

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This work was supported by the La Trobe University Full Free Research Scholarship.

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Correspondence to Paulina Ezer.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

The questionnaire and methodology for this study was approved by the La Trobe University Human Ethics Committee (Ethics approval number: S17127).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Ezer, P., Fisher, C.M., Jones, T. et al. Changes in Sexuality Education Teacher Training Since the Release of the Australian Curriculum. Sex Res Soc Policy 19, 12–21 (2022).

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  • Sexuality education
  • Australia
  • Pedagogy
  • Training
  • Teachers