Australian Curriculum Review – the process
In preparing for the Review, ACARA:
- considered the latest research and international developments; and
- consulted with practising teachers, curriculum experts, key academics and professional associations.
We formed the Health and Physical Education Curriculum Reference Group and Teacher Reference Group to provide advice and feedback, with members nominated by state and territory education authorities and non-government sectors.
We also wanted a specific focus on primary schools, so we created the Primary (F–6) Curriculum Reference Group and Teacher Reference Group. These groups helped give advice and feedback on how we could improve the curriculum for our youngest students.
From this research, teacher feedback and our work with the reference groups, we identified some key areas where the Health and Physical Education curriculum could be improved.
How to have your say
Provide your feedback through our survey, which will ask you to respond to statements about the revised curriculum. You can see a copy of the survey questions before you begin to give your feedback.
For further information on the survey, including how to save and return to it, refer to the survey information sheet.
The consultation version of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education includes the following key changes:
- Core concepts that represent the essential learning in Health and Physical Education have been developed.
- Foundation year content has been refined and reduced to privilege depth over breadth, remove duplication and ensure the content is manageable in the time allocated for Health and Physical Education in the early years.
- Sub-strands in the personal, social and community health strand have been revised to more closely reflect the core concepts and essential content identified in this strand.
- Band level descriptions have been improved to ensure they provide teachers with a clear overview of the learning that students should experience at each band and how this learning relates to the developmental stages of a student.
- Achievement standards have been refined, they are now presented as a single paragraph and better illustrate the interrelationship between understanding and skills.
- Content descriptions have been refined to provide greater clarity to teachers about what to teach.
- Cognitive alignment between content descriptions and achievement standards has been strengthened.
- Content elaborations have been refined to provide illustrations of authentic and meaningful opportunities to address general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities through the teaching of Health and Physical Education content.
- More explicit advice has been included within focus area descriptions, content descriptions and elaborations to provide greater clarity for teachers in how to address respectful relationships and consent education in an age-appropriate manner.
What have you done to address education about consent in the proposed revisions to the Health and Physical Education curriculum?
The current Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education already includes content related to consent education. The review process has allowed us to update and strengthen the content and guidance related to the teaching of consent in the revised Health and Physical Education curriculum. The teaching of the skills and understandings required for respectfully giving and gaining consent is addressed in the personal, social and community health strand through the focus area: Relationships and Sexuality. This content is explored at age-appropriate intervals across the school years from Foundation to Year 10.
In the proposed revisions, Foundation to Year 2, students explore the concept of consent through learning skills and knowledge around giving permission, such as learning to ask for permission before sharing someone’s toys or entering their personal space. The skills required to give or gain permission, such as communication skills, negotiation, assertiveness skills and reading and interpreting verbal and body language, are practised and refined in these years.
In Years 3 to 6, the proposed revisions require students to begin to explore more complex situations where consent may be required, such as sharing information about others or images via social media and understanding appropriate and inappropriate touching. The focus remains on further developing and refining the key communication and interpersonal skills for giving and gaining consent, as well as exploring protective behaviours and help seeking strategies that can be implemented if students experience inappropriate behaviour.
In Years 7 to 10, students learn about establishing and managing respectful relationships and how power imbalances within a relationship can create a dynamic where coercion, intimidation and manipulation can occur, leading to non-consensual or inappropriate behaviour. They also learn to develop positive practices in relation to their reproductive and sexual health, which includes aspects associated with sexual consent.
To provide a more manageable approach to Health and Physical Education in Foundation, there is one content description for each sub-strand. The content descriptions build on the learning described in the Early Years Learning Framework and provide a clear set of expectations of the rigour and breadth of learning required.
What is the difference between Personal and Social capability and the Health and Physical Education curriculum?
General capabilities are developed through the content of the learning areas, they are not separate learning areas or subjects. Not all general capabilities will be developed in every learning area. They will only be included in learning area content where they can be developed in authentic and meaningful ways. The Personal and Social capability is developed across all learning areas as students learn to understand themselves and others and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively.
The Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education includes content that develops key elements of the Personal and Social capability. In the personal, social and community health strand, for example, students develop self-awareness skills in the identities and change sub-strand and social awareness skills in the interacting with others sub-strand. In the movement and physical activity strand, students develop self-management skills in the understanding movement sub-strand and social management skills in the learning through movement sub-strand.
The sub-strands in the personal, social and community health strand have been revised to more closely reflect the core concepts and essential content identified in this strand.
Schools will organise and deliver learning experiences depending on local needs, resource availability and timetabling structures. In secondary settings in particular, the content from the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education can be organised and delivered in a range of ways and through several different school subjects, such as home economics or outdoor education.
Elements of learning in outdoor education will draw on content from across the Australian Curriculum, including Health and Physical Education, Geography and Science. The primary content drawn from Health and Physical Education will be in the areas of outdoor recreation, challenge and adventure activities, and the influence spending time outdoors and in nature has on health and wellbeing.
Elements of learning in home economics will draw from content in both Health and Physical Education and Technologies in the Australian Curriculum. The primary content drawn from the Health and Physical Education curriculum is in relation to food and nutrition, growth and development, identity and connecting to others.