Folens asked to amend schoolbook linking students to “dangerous” advice on puberty blockers

Schoolbook publishers, Folens, have been asked to amend a textbook prepared for Irish First Year students which recommends a video series described as giving “false” and “dangerous” advice to teenagers – with one video promoting puberty blockers and falsely claiming the effect of the medication is reversible.

Advocacy group, The Countess, said that directing students to videos from an American website,, amounted to a “dereliction of duty” – and that one video “directs children to a video that says the effects of puberty blockers are reversible” – a claim that medical authorities have not supported.

Sandra Adams, the Schools and Safeguarding Lead for the group, also described the use of the video entitled ‘Range of Gender Identities’ as ‘anti-scientific’.

The video tells children that “gender exists on a spectrum”, presents the controversial theory known as gender ideology as fact, and scolds one character, an old fashioned uncle, for believing that there are only two genders, male and female. Students are also told that they must not make “assumptions about gender”.

The Folens texbook, SPHE for Wellbeing1, tells students that AMAZE produces “excellent videos” for adolescents.


Ms Adams expressed particular concern about another video from the AMAZE range which gives students a positive message about the use of puberty blockers.

Students are told that feeling that their bodies may not match their internal sense of gender and that this is “totally normal”.

They are also told that if they want more time to “explore” these feelings  “before your body starts to change”, they should talk to a parent and to medical professionals.

They are then told that an endocrinologist is the person “most likely to prescribe puberty blockers for someone who wants them”.

Students are told: the effects of the medication are only temporary, which is not known to be  true. The use of puberty blockers for children and teens has become enormously controversial.

The NHS in England has now said that puberty blockers – which delay the onset of puberty – should no longer be prescribed to children who experience gender confusion.

The health authority now notes that: “Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.”

“It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations,” NHS England adds. An exception is made for the use of the medication in a clinical setting.

“The truth is, no one knows what the long-term effects of using these drugs are, and for this reason, many jurisdictions have ceased to prescribe them to gender-questioning teenagers,” Sandra Adams of the Countess told Gript.

‘We know for a fact, based on evidence produced in the Keira Bell judicial review test case, that according to EPATH (trans healthcare’s own clinical protocol), at least 98% of children and young people on puberty blockers go on to cross sex hormones. We know that puberty blockers, far from a pause button, are a fast track to full chemical “transition”, the effects of which are irreversible for girls,” she said.

“After three months on testosterone, a girl will have male pattern facial, chest, and back hair, a lower voice, and the possibility of male pattern baldness for her lifetime. Not to mention an inability to orgasm or conceive,” she added.

“Parents should be very concerned that activist groups like have made their way into an SPHE textbook for use in Irish classrooms. Their videos are not accurate or honest. These resources will make students incredibly confused about sex and sexuality”.

She described the advice on puberty blockers as “dangerous”, saying that having a recommendation to watch the videos in a school textbook established a “chain of trust”.

“It’s then seen as part of the curriculum, a teacher may be advising you watch this video – yet the information given is both false and dangerous,” she said.

“Publishers have obligation to make sure their schoolbooks are fit for purpose,” she said. “We are very much against any move to ban books but this schoolbook needs to be amended to reflect the scientific facts.”

“Young students should not be advised to watch a video that gives false and dangerous information about puberty blockers – that says the effects are ‘totally reversible’ when that’s not known to be true.”

She said that The Countess was urging parents to invoke their constitutional and statutory rights as their children’s primary educators by demanding that principals choose fact-based SPHE textbooks written in accordance with the curriculum, safeguarding principles, and common sense.

“The Countess Schools and Safeguarding Team will continue to monitor the rollout of the new curriculum and advocate for the rights of children to a factual education,” she added.

Folens did not respond to requests for comments for this news article.

NHS England cautions that clinicians should be mindful that gender confusion “may be a transient phase, particularly for pre-pubertal children, and that there
will be a range of pathways to support these children and young people and a range of outcomes.”

“A significant proportion of children and young people who are concerned about, or distressed by, issues of gender incongruence experience coexisting mental health, neuro-developmental and/or personal, family or social complexities in their lives,” it noted.

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