Calls for religious ethos to be removed from sex education in schools

The Solidarity party says it wants the curriculum to be delivered 'factually and objectively'

Calls for religious ethos to be removed from sex education in schools

Launch of Solidarity's Objective Sexual Education Bill in Dublin this morning. Image: Stephanie Grogan

There are calls for a different approach to teaching young people about sex in schools.

Yesterday, Education Minister Richard Bruton announced a major review of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) in schools.

Education officials are being asked to consider a number of areas - including issues around consent, developments in contraception, LGBTQ matters, and safe use of the internet.

Today, the Solidarity Party launched its Objective Sexual Education Bill.

The party wants to remove religious ethos from the discussion - and says the content of the curriculum should be 'factual and objective'.

The party is bringing a bill to the Dáil calling for the curriculum to include issues such as contraception, sexuality, gender, LGBTQ+ issues and consent.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger explained: "Sex ed is often not being taught at all in schools, and when it is it can be from the prism of a moralistic standpoint - with young people not getting the full information that they need.

"We want it to be a positive discussion about sexuality... but also giving all the information that young people need."

She added: "We need an overhaul on how its taught, but we also need to remove aspects of the Education Act... which are preventing young people getting the education they need."

Sixth-year student Megan Brady added: "We need to be having honest and realistic conversations in our classrooms.

"I think schools need to be a lot more concerned about protecting the safety of their students rather than the ethos of the school. As well as that, we need to be having conversations about consent, different sexualities and different genders - and this can't just happen in secondary school, it needs to be spoken about in primary schools."

The bill is due to be debated in the Dáil on April 18th.

Reporting by Stephanie Grogan and Stephen McNeice