Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (36)

Thomas Pringle


36. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the National Council for Curriculum Assessment has completed its second consultation on the issue of reforming sex education in schools; when its final report is due; the steps he is taking to counteract campaigns of misinformation regarding sex education reform here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The most recent phase of consultation by the National Council for Curriculum Assessment on Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) closed on 26th October. This phase invited feedback on the NCCA's draft report on its review of RSE and, again, there was significant public engagement in this process.  The consultation took the form of an online survey, invitations to make written submissions, and a major seminar in Dublin Castle.

I understand that the feedback arising from the NCCA consultation will be incorporated into a draft final report which will be considered by the members of the Council at its December 2019 meeting. I expect to receive the NCCA's report shortly after this, and it will be carefully considered by my Department.   

I am aware of material that was circulated as part of a campaign of misinformation to spread misleading claims about what type of Relationships and Sex Education will be taught to young children in our schools. I have said publicly, and I repeat it here today, that these claims are untrue and also deeply unhelpful. They amount to malicious scaremongering. 

Under no circumstances will my Department impose a curriculum whereby young children are exposed to instruction or information in relation to sexual activity that is inappropriate to their age.

As Minister for Education and Skills, I am committed to ensuring that any RSE curriculum will be appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the children in our schools.

 It is vital that we provide future generations with an understanding of the importance of consent, the development of relationships, safe use of the internet and a healthy positive attitude to sexuality.

Questions Nos. 37 to 39, inclusive, answered orally.