Call to reform the teaching of relationships and sexuality education in NI schools

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There were calls last night for a reform of the teaching of relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools across Northern Ireland.

It comes after a new poll found overwhelming support among MPs for changes to CSR education, with 78% of respondents agreeing there should be a standardized curriculum, regardless the school’s philosophy.

CSR is a compulsory part of the curriculum in Northern Ireland, however, each school is responsible for developing its own policy, which reflects its philosophy.

Therefore, the topics covered and the level of factual information and support students receive vary from school to school.

But the new research, which was commissioned by Informing Choices NI, highlights that only 17% of Stormont assembly members think CSR in schools is ‘good enough’.

The survey also reveals that 70% support the introduction of a new sexual health strategy, which includes the implementation of consistent and inclusive CSR.

Other results indicate that 62% agree that children and young people should be informed about different types of families, such as single-parent or homosexual families, and 60% said that information on the availability of contraception and the access to abortion should be included in all postnatal studies. primary schools.

Informing Choices NI said the Secretary of State has “a legal obligation to ensure that adolescents have access to age-appropriate, comprehensive, and scientifically accurate education about sexual and reproductive health and rights, including prevention of early pregnancies and access to abortion”.

Ruairi Rowan, Director of Advocacy and Policy for ICNI, said: “For too long our children and young people have been let down by the inadequate provision of CSR.

“This often leaves them unaware of their reproductive choices, ill-prepared to form relationships, and unlikely to experience an inclusive upbringing that reflects all family types.

“The results of our survey send a clear message to the Secretary of State that there is overwhelming political support for reforming CSR education in Northern Ireland.

“We urge him to intervene to ensure that the law is enforced and that our children and young people receive the comprehensive, scientifically accurate information and support they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.”

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