Ireland paves way for LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education in schools

The Irish government has asked a regulator to draw up guidance for teaching about LGBT issues in relationships and sexuality education (RSE).

The Republic of Ireland’s Education minister, Richard Bruton TD, this week announced a review of the RSE provisions in all schools.

Teaching about sex and relationships has been mandatory in Irish schools since the 1990s, but a committee in the Irish Parliament recently warned that the guidance is badly out of date and requires redrafting.

In response, Mr Bruton this week wrote to the National Council on Curriculum and Assessment to ask it to draw up new guidelines.

Richard Bruton, T.D (Photo by Mac Innes Photography/The Department of the Taoiseach via Getty Images)

The department says that “LGBTQ+ matters” is one of the specific issues that the minister has asked the body to consider as it modernises the guidelines, as well as consent, social media, the internet and modern contraception.

Minister Bruton said: “Today I am announcing a review of Relationships and Sexuality Education in schools. It is important that we review this area of learning to make sure that we are adequately providing information to students regarding sexuality and relationships through the curriculum.

“I have asked the NCCA to consider the experience and reality of RSE as delivered in schools, the supports and professional development opportunities provided for teachers.

“The RSE curriculum fulfils an important function. Every student has a right to access information about sexual health, relationships and sexuality, and this must be delivered in a factual manner in every school. This review will help to inform decisions regarding the content of the curriculum and how it is delivered.

“I want to ensure that the RSE curriculum meets the needs of young people today, who face a range of different issues to those faced by young people in the late 1990s.”

He added: “This review will also look at the effectiveness of the continuing professional development opportunities which are currently provided to RSE teachers. It is essential for the curriculum to be delivered by teachers who are fully supported and who feel comfortable teaching the curriculum and talking to their students about sexuality and relationships.”

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