Child protection education in schools
- New South Wales
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Primary prevention is key
- 5 Promote healthy and safe relationships and build gender equitable values through initiatives for children and young people.
What are we doing?
The NSW Government provides a proactive and comprehensive program for child protection education which is taught in all schools in NSW as part of the mandatory Kindergarten to Year 10 (K–10) Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus.
The syllabus includes strategies for building respectful relationships and resilience, as well as building skills in recognising and responding to unsafe situations, effectively seeking assistance and protective strategies appropriate to their age and stage of learning.
The NSW Department of Education is developing a Domestic and Family Violence strategy aimed at strengthening staff capacity to identify, respond to, and support children and young people experiencing domestic and family violence. Online professional learning resources will be available early 2022 to support the implementation of this strategy. The strategy is based on Child Wellbeing data, existing literature, and feedback from experts in education and child protection.
What have we achieved so far?
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) released the NSW PDHPE K-10 syllabus in 2018. The syllabus includes progressive learning across child protection concepts from K-10. This syllabus was implemented in all NSW schools for students in Years 7 and 9 in 2019 and Kindergarten to Year 10 in 2020.
The NSW Department of Education allocated $160,000 for the review and redevelopment of child protection education materials to support effective teaching and student learning. The trialling and finalisation of these materials were completed in 2020. These updated resources were launched in September 2020 and are publicly available for all schools to access in 2021 from the NSW Department of Education website at https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/key-learning-areas/pdhpe/child-protection-and-respectful-relationships-education.
The Department of Education has completed the initial research phase of its Domestic and Family Violence Strategy and has a draft currently under review.
What is next?
The Department will continue to monitor the implementation of the child protection education curriculum support materials in light of the NSW Education Standards Authority curriculum reform and make adjustments so that the material is compliant with any changes. As part of the NSW Curriculum Reform project, the PDHPE K-10 syllabus will be revised by 2024. Content that addresses respectful relationships and life skills will be reviewed to better sequence and contextualise the teaching of child protection concepts, and enhanced resources will be provided to teachers and schools.
The Department of Education will continue to progress delivery of its Domestic and Family Violence Strategy and related resources based on research, data, and consultation. New professional learning resources will be developed based on feedback and emerging trends.
What difference will we make?
The PDHPE child protection education support materials and program meets the learning objectives and indicators set out by the NSW Education Standards Authority.
They aim to build teachers’ confidence and capacity to deliver PDHPE syllabus content that is considered complex and sensitive and will improve student knowledge, understanding and skills about respectful relationships, protective strategies, power, abuse and violence.
The Department of Education’s Domestic and Family Violence Strategy and resources aim to strengthen the Department’s response to children and young people and families experiencing domestic and family violence.