While consent forms part of the Health, Wellbeing and Relationships strand of the New South Wales (NSW) Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) curriculum in Australia, it is not consistently or effectively delivered within schools. The recent e-campaign, Teach Us Consent in NSW, drew attention to the alarmingly high rates of sexual assault experienced by young women during their school years or shortly after. The campaign called for mandatory, inclusive and comprehensive consent education in schools. This paper presents research from a case study of an elite, same-sex, Catholic boys’ school in NSW, Australia, examining the types of knowledge and attitudes young men and their PDHPE teachers had about sexual consent and the types of consent pedagogies mobilised. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with the five male PDHPE teachers, and a focus group was conducted with five Year 11 male students (aged 16–17). The findings highlight that while participants recognised the importance of sexual consent in intimate relationships, consent pedagogies were grounded in individualising discourses of risk, responsibility and care, which rearticulated hegemonic gender norms. Findings from this study contribute to discussions of how schools approach consent education, and the limitations presented by outsourcing relationships and sex education.
Feminist Boys Studies Research Group