Sinn Féin support for Sex Education Bill
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education, Kathleen Funchion TD spoke last night in the Dáil about the ad-hoc nature of the current SPHE and RSE, which is failing to fully equip young people with positive and informed outlooks on their sexual health, self-care, body image, relationships, gender identity, contraception, consent and sexuality.
Teachta Funchion said:
“The characteristic spirit clause in the Education Act 1998, which was introduced by Fianna Fáil, means that ethos based schools can leave out certain aspects of a curriculum that they believe does not match the 'characteristic spirit' of a school.
“The same Fianna Fáil who feel that legislation is no place for deciding curriculum, inserted this clause into legislation. It is, effectively, a veto on this curriculum for ethos-based schools and is the biggest obstacle to inclusive and robust RSE.
“I am disappointed that students with disabilities have been left out of this conversation both by the Minister, in his statement regarding the upcoming review and in the proposed bill.
“They, as much as anyone else, deserve to know their rights in asserting and withdrawing consent or how to stay safe from STIs or crisis pregnancies.
“The current curriculum is ad-hoc and lacking formal characteristics, sufficient teaching hours, teacher training and support, and updated curriculum handbooks.
“Teachers need certainty and proper resources to guide their students through their formative years and to feel confident and competent in delivering a robust, informative, open and comprehensive education to their students in these matters.