New guidelines for schools on sex-ed speakers
Schools must adhere to strict new guidelines for visiting speakers and external programmes for classes in sex education.
The Department of Education has issued new directives to schools, strengthening its previous advice.
The best practice guidance takes on board controversies that have arisen over the choice of some visiting speakers. In June, parents of some pupils at a multi-denominational primary school in Dublin kept children at home over the decision to bring in the Catholic marriage agency Accord to deliver sex education.
In one change, schools are told that external facilitators should be qualified to work within the specific areas of content and with students for whom the programmes were designed. Previously, advice was that programmes were "best delivered by those specifically qualified to work with young people for whom the programmes are designed".
Schools are also told that parents should be consulted in advance; previously this was "strongly recommended".