Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (472)

Richard Bruton


472. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education if the review of RSE in schools has been completed; and when the changes will be introduced in schools. [26760/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Programme for Government states that this Government will develop inclusive and age appropriate curricula for Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) across primary and post-primary schools.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) conducted a thorough and transparent review, and published its report, “Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in primary and post-primary Schools” in December 2019. This Report was developed on foot of extensive consultation which was conducted between June 2018 and March 2019.

The NCCA report makes a number of recommendations. This includes primarily the development of a single integrated curriculum for RSE and Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) in schools. Work on updating or developing new specifications for SPHE/RSE will commence in the NCCA in 2021, beginning with a focus on Junior Cycle. This work will include engagement with all the key education stakeholders as well as a further process of public consultation before any new curriculum specifications are finalised.

The NCCA has established two development groups, one for primary and one for post-primary, to oversee the work in this area and support the development of guidance material for schools. These groups were unable to commence their work over recent months due to the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. However, meetings of these groups will convene from October and this will allow them to review significant work that has been progressed.

The NCCA is currently developing interim guidance for SPHE and RSE across primary and post-primary levels. These support materials will be made available in the form of an online toolkit. They will provide guidance on how the current curriculum can be approached in a more holistic way. The materials involved will be brought to the development groups from October. It is anticipated that some guidance materials will be published before the end of 2020 and that they will be supplemented incrementally during 2021.

The NCCA has worked collaboratively with the teacher professional development support services and other relevant groups in completing an audit of current teaching and learning resources relevant to SPHE/RSE and compiled a comprehensive resource list which will be published as part of the online toolkit for SPHE/RSE. This will provide a single, online access point for up-to-date resources.

Further recommendations in the report in relation to Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) regarding SPHE and RSE are being considered by my Department with a view to putting enhanced supports in place.