Sexuality programmes in special education schools

Published Date: 25 February 2021 04:38 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Leon Perera, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has conducted any survey or review on the effectiveness of existing pilot sexuality programmes offered in special education schools; (b) whether the Ministry has any plans to expand these programmes to all special needs schools; and (c) what support is available for parents and caregivers of children and young persons with disabilities to discuss sexuality issues in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner.

Response

  1. Sexuality education is an important part of the curriculum for all Special Education (SPED) schools. It imparts understanding about the physiological, social and emotional changes experienced in growing up, develops students' social, emotional and personal safety skills, and builds students' positive attitudes and beliefs towards self, others and relationships.
  2. Sexuality education in SPED schools is delivered through the Healthy and Safe Relationships (HSR) programme, which started out as a pilot with six SPED schools in 2013. The programme covers three broad themes, namely body awareness, personal safety and relationships, and is carried out through customised lessons according to the varying needs of students, with a range of methods such as direct instruction and role-playing.
  3. Healthy and Safe Relationships (HSR) programme, which started out as a pilot with six SPED schools in 2013. The programme covers three broad themes, namely body awareness, personal safety and relationships, and is carried out through customised lessons according to the varying needs of students, with a range of methods such as direct instruction and role-playing.
  4. To support SPED schools, MOE launched "A guide to teaching HSR in SPED schools" in 2016. This guide and accompanying workshops were jointly developed by MOE, SPED teachers and the Health Promotion Board (HPB), with input from parents and caregivers.
  5. In addition to HSR lessons, SPED schools adopt a multi-disciplinary approach involving social workers and psychologists to support families in helping their children cope with sexuality-related changes, as well as managing behavioural and social-emotional challenges. SPED schools also conduct workshops to equip parents and caregivers in sexuality education.
  6. MOE works with SPED schools to regularly review the effectiveness of their HSR programmes. In 2019, workshops were conducted for school leaders and an enhanced HSR course was introduced to provide teachers with comprehensive strategies and resources including an emphasis on cyberwellness and parent engagement. This year, MOE will add on an advanced-level course for SPED schools in HSR curriculum development. MOE will continue to partner SPED schools to enhance their capabilities in sexuality education.
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