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A New Curriculum Revamp Proposes A Bigger Focus On Consent In Primary Schools

The curriculum recommendations come a week after the controversial milkshake video went viral.

Consent Schools Curriculum

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The national school curriculum might see a shake up with new proposals focused on better sex and consent education.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) released a set of recommendations on Thursday to help students become “active, informed members of the community”, the body said in a statement.

Under the new proposals, primary school kids will learn more about setting boundaries, autonomy, gender and identity, responding to explicit material online, and strategies for seeking help.

A recommendation for Years 5 and 6 classes cites “exploring the steps of giving consent (asking, answering, listening and responding) and practising how to communicate their intentions effectively at each step”.

Year 7 to 10 students will explore relationships and sexuality more, with emphasis on communicating consent, diversity, gender-based violence, respect, and sexting.

A fresh approach to colonisation and First Nations history, and less emphasis on Christian heritage, are also on the cards in the reforms.

The current health and physical education curriculum being taught in schools has been in place for seven years.

“Since publication, there has been a considerable focus on the role of schools in addressing issues including respectful relationships [and] consent education,” ACARA said.

Consent and sex education has been on the radar since February when 22-year-old Chanel Contos started a national conversation around sexual assault in private schools. A viral petition by the Teach Us Consent campaign garnered over 40,000 signatures.

Famously, the federal government’s Respect Matters education program was roasted this month after tackling the topic with a tone-deaf milkshake metaphor.

The curriculum recommendations will now be open to public feedback before final content changes are made. Once approved by the Education Minister, the new curriculum will go live at the start of next year, according to an ACARA spokesperson.