New sex ed curriculum should cover negative effects of porn - report

Children should also learn about LGBTQI+ relationships and contraception, says committee

The report recommends that only teachers who have been given accredited training should teach sex education. Photograph: iStock

The report recommends that only teachers who have been given accredited training should teach sex education. Photograph: iStock

 

Children should be taught about the negative impact of pornography as part of a new revised sex education curriculum, a report will recommend today.

The report into relationships and sexuality education, which was compiled by the Oireachtas Education Committee, also recommends that any updated sex education programme be fully inclusive of LGBTQI+ relationships and experiences “including sexual orientation, gender identity and the spectrums thereof”.

The committee also recommends that the new programme places a greater emphasis on the area of consent and that the curriculum should be taught by teachers who have been given training which is accredited.

The committee has also recommended that the Department of Education record instances of homophobic and transphobic bullying and create a mechanism to monitor the collection of this data in schools.

“While the current curriculum was, when introduced in 1999, viewed as progressive at that time, the committee feels it is now appropriate for this to be updated to take account of the significant societal changes which have taken place,” the report states.

“The committee wants improvements made to the curriculum to give our young people the skills they need, particularly in the areas of consent and contraception.”

A new programme “needs to be inclusive of all students and to give a voice to LGBTQI+ students and those with special intellectual needs who are often overlooked in this area”.

‘Sexting is often times a response to an inability to articulate one’s aversion to engaging in physical sexual activities.’
Online environment: The Oireachtas Education Committee has recommended that the Department of Education record instances of homophobic and transphobic bullying and create a mechanism to monitor the collection of this data in schools.

The report also recommends changing the law to remove the role of ethos as a barrier to the “objective and factual delivery” of sex education curriculums.

“The committee was advised that the Education Act 1998 will need to be amended because the NCCA [National Council for Curriculum and Assessment] has no legal power over how the curriculum is delivered by school patron bodies with their own religious ethos.”

The report calls too for clarity to be given by the Department of Education in relation to how schools and colleges under religious patronage should implement the changed curriculum.

Sex education should also be delivered at an earlier age, it said.

“The committee was advised that primary schools are also required to fully implement the Stay Safe programme as part of the SPHE [social and personal health education] curriculum, which addresses physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

A review of sex education in schools has been launched. Photograph: Getty
File photograph: Getty

“The committee views the Stay Safe programme as a useful tool to safeguard the wellbeing of children, however the committee was informed that this is not taught in all primary schools and that only 30 minutes per week is allocated to the teaching of social, personal and health education in primary schools.

“The committee believes that this needs to be addressed by the DES [Department of Education and Skills] as it does not adequately equip students for the significant changes that have taken place in Ireland in recent times.”

The report noted that the curriculum for SPHE was published in 1999 and needs to be updated. “Additionally the curriculum needs to be delivered to students from an earlier age.”