Monday 25 March 2019

School ethos 'should not dictate sex education'

Stock Image
Stock Image
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Teachers and students have called for an end to the days when a school's religious ethos can dictate how it teaches sex education.

While relationships and sexuality education (RSE) is mandatory at both primary and post-primary level, a school's policy on it can reflect its "core values and ethos".

RSE is in the spotlight following Education Minister Richard Bruton's recent announcement of a major review of the programme, for the first time in 20 years. The Oireachtas Education Committee is also looking at the issue and held a hearing yesterday.

Irish Second-Level Students' Union (ISSU) welfare and equality officer Eboni Burke said there was a need for a one-size-fits-all approach to RSE, to which all schools must adhere, regardless of patronage.

She told the committee of a recent ISSU online survey, which found more than 87pc of students did not have RSE on a regular basis, 65pc had not learned about consent and 28pc said they had received no contraceptive education.

Teacher union representatives also said the relationship between school ethos and a State curriculum needed to be addressed. Maeve McCafferty of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation said ethos could affect the delivery of RSE and that children should have a right to age-appropriate factual information.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News