27 November, 2018 - Minister McHugh welcomes consultation symposium on Relationship and Sexuality Education

The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D. today (Tuesday 27th November 2018) welcomed the convening of a consultation symposium on Relationships and Sexuality Education. The symposium, which is taking place today in Collins Barracks, Dublin, is being held as part of the consultation underway by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) as a key element of a review of Relationship and Sexuality Education in schools.  

Minister McHugh said “I am delighted to see this event take place as part of the review of RSE for primary and post primary schools, which was announced last April.

“It is hugely important to ensure that we equip schools and teachers with the skills and support to help prepare pupils for adulthood with the right attitudes.

“We must ensure that we give schoolchildren the best guidance for their youth and adult life, to ensure that they learn about appropriate behaviour, respect for one another, in particular respect for women and that they have a clear understanding of the issues around consent and what that means.”

The review of RSE will cover both the content of the RSE curriculum in schools and support materials, as well as the delivery of the curriculum to students. The review comprises three inter-related dimensions. The first involved a desk-top review of recently published research/studies in the area of RSE. Building on this, consultations are taking place with key individuals and organisations who have responsibility for or who are working in this area, and today’s symposium is a key part of that consultation process. The third dimension involves working directly with schools to examine the experience of RSE in the schools and in classrooms. Last week the NCCA published a research paper to inform the public consultation process. The NCCA is engaging directly with a wide range of schools to hear the experiences and perspectives of students, parents and teachers. Online surveys are also available for those who wish to contribute their views.

The Minister went on to thank all those in attendance at today’s event and stated that the input from those working to support teaching and learning of RSE in Irish schools is essential in ensuring that our RSE curriculum and the delivery of same is fit to meet the needs of our young people.

The Minister stated that he is looking forward to receiving a comprehensive report from the NCCA in middle of next year. 

Ends

Notes to Editor

A major review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools was announced in April 2018. The review involves an examination of the RSE curriculum at both primary and post-primary level, including an examination of the experience and reality of RSE as delivered in schools, including how the RSE curriculum is planned, how it is taught and how parents are involved; the role of the classroom teacher in teaching the curriculum and the appropriate level of supports which are currently being provided by external providers; and the effectiveness of the continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities which are currently provided by the Department and other bodies to RSE teachers. 

Today’s seminar is being attended by a wide range of groups and agencies, all of whom have a responsibility or interest in supporting RSE in schools. These include Government Departments, the HSE, bodies representing students, teachers, parents and school management, higher education institutions, and a number of non-governmental bodies involved in this area.