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More objective and factual approach needed for relationships and sexuality education – Kathleen Funchion TD

29 January, 2019 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Education, and member of the Committee on Education and Skills, Kathleen Funchion TD has said that more effective, objective, and factual teaching about relationships and sexuality in schools was needed in order to reflect international best practice and modern Irish society.

Commenting today after the launch of the Oireachtas Education and Skills Committee Report on Relationships and Sexuality Education, Teachta Funchion said:

“The current curriculum and delivery of Relationships and Sexuality is outdated and does not reflect a modern Ireland. Students are being taught a curriculum that has not been reviewed in two decades.

“The committee report recommends that outside groups, which will be regulated by the Department of Education or the Health Service Executive are brought in to schools to deliver Relationships and Sexuality Education. This is to ensure that accurate information is being given to all students.

“Currently, all schools are obliged to teach Relationships and Sexuality Education, but legislation allows the ethos of a school to influence how the programme is delivered.

“The Committee also recommends that clarity is given by the DES regarding how schools and colleges, under religious patronage, should implement a comprehensive RSE programme.

“This is to ensure that all children and young people are treated equally and that the Education Act 1998 be reviewed so that ethos can no longer be used as a barrier to the effective teaching of the RSE and SPHE curriculum.

“Through engagement with many different stakeholders and witnesses committee members heard that our education curriculum as it stands does not deliver in the area of sexual health education for LGBTQI+ students or students with intellectual disabilities.

“This is discriminatory and has to be changed.

“The committee report recommends changes are introduced as soon as possible and at the latest by the end of 2019.”

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