Access to Relationships and Sexuality Education, or RSE, is an important right for students. This is reflected in the Programme for Government, which states that this Government will develop inclusive and age appropriate curricula for RSE and Social, Personal and Health Education across primary and post-primary schools.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment was requested to conduct a review of RSE provision in Irish schools, focusing on a range of topics including healthy positive, sexual expression and relationships and LGBTQ+ matters. The NCCA published “The Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education in primary and post-primary schools” in December, 2019.
This report resulted in the NCCA establishing two development groups, one for primary and one for post-primary, to oversee the work of developing an updated curriculum materials in this area and supporting the development of guidance material for schools.
The public consultation on the draft updated junior cycle SPHE specification will run from early July to October. The focus during the early period of the consultation will be on gathering feedback from non-government organisations (NGOs), agencies, support services and individuals with interest or expertise in this area. During the period from September to October the consultation will particularly focus on gathering feedback from teachers, students and parents. All the data gathered during the consultation will be summarised in a report which will inform any final changes needed to the draft specification. It is expected that the finalised specification will be presented to Council for approval early 2023, and subject to my approval, will be implemented in schools Sept 2023.