Understanding what is meant by consent is important. Visit Statement of Intent: Our shared commitment to understand why we believe this important.
At school you learn about consent as part of respectful relationships education. Consent is taught through sexuality education programs in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE).
These lessons build your knowledge and skills to develop respectful relationships, including understanding and negotiating consent. It includes learning about influences on your attitudes and behaviours, and developing skills to make positive decisions, solve problems and interact respectfully and ethically online and offline.
Knowing what consent means
Consent is agreeing to how and when another person touches your body, or you touch their body. It is an agreement, and it must be present when sex occurs. Both parties involved in any form of sexual activity have rights and responsibilities. Giving and receiving consent respects these rights and responsibilities.
You can give your consent or take away your consent at any time. Choosing to do something once does not give permission or agreement forever. Giving consent to one sexual behaviour does not give consent to all sexual behaviours. Consent needs to be clearly given and received each time, before and during any form of sex or sexual contact, including kissing.
In 2022, the laws around consent changed. It isn’t just important that everyone knows that ’no means no’, but the laws clearly state that everyone has the responsibility when giving consent to make it clear by saying yes.
At the beginning of primary school, you will learn about:
- the body’s reaction to a range of situations, including safe and unsafe situations, and comparing the different emotional responses
- parts of the body which are private and the idea of privacy
- how people have the right to give consent and tell others not to touch their body when they do not want to be touched
- the right to say yes or no to affection, e.g. tickles, hugs, kisses
- appropriate touch and how to respond to inappropriate touch
- people that can help in different situations, e.g. when hurt, upset or sad
- ways of seeking help in a range of different scenarios, e.g. call 000 during an emergency, use No-Go-Tell when feeling unsafe.
In Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4), you will be supported to build on what you have learnt so far. You will learn about rights and responsibilities in relationships, types of abuse, power in relationships, protective and how to seek help.
You will be supported to:
- practise responses and strategies to promote personal safety in unsafe situations, including ways to assertively communicate messages through activities such as role plays
- explore a wide range of scenarios and describe the difference between an accident and abuse.
In Stage 3 (Years 5 and 6) you will be supported to extend on your understanding of consent and rights and responsibilities in relationships and learn skills and ways to develop new respectful relationships and maintain them.
You will do this through activities such as:
- role plays which will allow you to identify where consent has been given and where rights and responsibilities are respected. You would be asked to describe how to respond to pressure.
In Stage 4, (Years 7 and 8) you will focus on:
- understanding the laws related to consent and age of consent in NSW, and the importance of consent as part of a respectful relationship – with a focus on sexual or intimate relationships
- demonstrating the skill of assertive communication and strategies to protect themselves and others, including ways to clearly ask for and receive consent.
The activities in class for this learning would include:
- investigating the laws of consent and applying those laws to scenarios
- using case studies and scenarios to identify examples of sexual consent and where it has been given and received.
In Stage 5, (Years 9 and 10) you will focus on:
- practising negotiation of boundaries in a range of scenarios. You will be provided different scenarios and asked to work with others in your classroom to predict some potential problems that may arise when it comes to negotiating consent and develop solutions to overcome these barriers
- practising the use of personal skills to communicate boundaries and give and receive consent clearly in a range of situations such as an intimate relationship, or refusing requests from people to send sexual images or videos
- linking the concept of consent to the sharing of images online (ethical behaviour online and offline).
- Students in Years 7-10 with a disability, particularly an intellectual disability who are not able to access the regular PDHPE outcomes and content through adjustments, can undertake the PDHPE Life Skills outcomes and content.
- Through the PDHPE Life Skills outcomes and content, students will develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to develop and enhance positive, respectful relationships, including understanding and negotiating consent.
In NSW, we have a mandatory 25-hour course called Life Ready. It promotes respect, responsibility, enjoyment, inclusion and social justice for self and others.
Through Life Ready, you will learn about promoting safety, equality and respect in relationships. You will also learn about negotiating consent as part of safe and ethical behaviour.
Learning experiences and activities are designed to address challenges and situations that you might face at your stage in life. This includes social situations where exposure or use of alcohol and drugs may influence behaviour. It also refers to the wide range of relationships (online and offline) which you can and will experience.
Resources for students
There are more resources for students in Year 7 and onwards on:
Other useful links