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Queensland schools pilot Respectful Relationships Education

February 21 2018 By OUR WATCH MEDIA MANAGER

​A pilot program aimed at giving children the skills to reject aggressive behaviour and discrimination and challenge stereotypes has today been launched in ten Queensland primary schools, with Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja AM saying she hopes many more schools will follow.

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"Respectful Relationships Education sees schools and communities working together to prevent violence," Ms Stott Despoja said. 
 
Launching the pilot at Eagleby South State School, Queensland Minister for Education the Hon. Grace Grace praised the  ten schools that have adopted the pilot.
 
"The pilot schools will promote gender equality and respectful relationships, and will involve parents to reinforce the key messages around respect and equality," the Minister said.
 
"We see the difference programs like this make every day for our little people, in classrooms and in the playground," said Eagleby South principal, Mr Andrew Barnes. 
 
"We want their lives to be safe and respectful," he added.  
 
We see them grow to Year 6 and we want them to be safe, and no matter what their parents' circumstances, that's what they want as well," Mr Barnes said. 
 
Although it is a relatively new area of work in Australia, international evidence has shown that respectful relationships education is highly effective in promoting equality and respect by helping children and young people reject violence-condoning attitudes.
 
Our Watch conducted a comprehensive review of programs worldwide, and in 2015 partnered with the Victorian Government on a pilot in secondary schools. 
 
In August of the same year, Victoria announced respectful relationships education would be delivered from 2016 onwards in Prep through to Year 10, and the Tasmanian Government announced funding aimed at encouraging all schools to deliver it from Kindergarten to Year 12.
 
Ms Stott Despoja joined Minister Grace in lauding Queensland's leadership and congratulating the schools participating in the pilot, with principals and deputy principals from most of them at the launch. 
 
"Schools are leaders and influencers in their communities. They are environments in which respect and equality can be modelled, shaping attitudes and behaviours at an early stage of life," Ms Stott Despoja said.
 
“Parents of those children who attend these schools can feel proud that they are playing a part in building a better and more equal world,” she added.
 
An evaluation of the Queensland pilot will be conducted by Deakin University when the pilot is completed.