A critical discourse analysis of sexuality education in the Australian curriculum

Paulina Ezer*, Tiffany Jones, Christopher Fisher, Jennifer Power

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the sexuality education component of the national Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (AC: HPE) with a focus on sexuality education discourses. A critical discourse analysis explored official AC:HPE documents in relation to sexuality education; the sexuality education discourses present within these documents; teacher roles and expectations associated with each discourse; and Australia’s broader social context in relation to education. Findings reveal that the AC:HPE emphasises a teacher-facilitated approach to sexuality education, which contrasts with teacher-centred work dominating the field prior to its release. This approach is in line with recent shifts in education towards strengths-based learning in which students are encouraged to think critically about issues. Despite these emphases, and while the AC:HPE is meant to be used flexibly as a guideline or framework, certain ambiguities within it may leave teachers’ roles open to interpretation and practices therefore unchanged or undisputed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-567
Number of pages17
JournalSex Education
Issue number5
Early online date6 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2019


  • teachers
  • sex education
  • Australia
  • curriculum
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • critical discourse analysis

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