Minister Foley welcomes opening of the consultation phase on the draft SPHE curriculum (including Relationships and Sexuality Education) for Junior Cycle

Published on: 22 July 2022


Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today, Monday 18 July, welcomes the opening by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) of a consultation phase on the draft Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum, including Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), for Junior Cycle in post-primary schools.

 

The NCCA previously conducted a major review of RSE in schools across all stages of education to ensure that it is fit for purpose and meets the needs of young people in modern Ireland. The review process heard from school communities and a wide range of stakeholders, and found a need for it to be brought up to date and improved in a range of ways. 

 

A subject development group with wide-ranging membership has developed a draft curriculum for SPHE, including RSE, for junior cycle and this has now been published for consultation on the NCCA’s website.

 

Minister Foley said: “I am pleased the NCCA has today opened its consultation phase on the draft junior cycle curriculum for Social, Personal and Health Education, including Relationships and Sexuality.

 

“The draft curriculum published today is the result of extensive work by the NCCA subject development group, based on research, evidence and engagement with stakeholders.

 

“The publication of this document and opening of the consultation phase is an important step, to ensure that a wide range of views are heard on this topic. The NCCA has engaged with the student voice and listened carefully to what they have said. The aim is to ensure that we have a modern and appropriate curriculum that reflects modern, day to day challenges and equips our students with the knowledge and skills that they need to make informed, healthy life choices.

 

“I encourage those with an interest in this area to make a submission, and when schools return in September the NCCA will begin a process of direct engagement to hear the views of all members of school communities.”

 

The consultation process opens today (Monday 18 July) for a three-month period and is open to anyone to make a submission.

 

The draft new curriculum covers topics ranging from bias, inequality or exclusion to development of emotional resilience and addiction. In relation to relationships and sexuality in particular, it includes topics like healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships, human sexuality and gender identity, consent, the importance of safer sexual activity including contraception, and the influence of digital media including pornography and the sharing of digital images online.

 

When schools return in September, there will be a particular focus by the NCCA on engagement with school communities to ensure they all have the opportunity to have their voices heard, with the consultation continuing until the middle of October.

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