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Irish teachers uncomfortable teaching sex-ed material, says NCCA

According to Ireland’s official school curriculum body, many teachers are uncomfortable teaching sex ed curriculum as they feel it isn’t “age appropriate.”

The revelation came during a Dáil committee meeting on gender equality this week, with discussions taking place around Ireland’s Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE).

“What we found was that the biggest barriers to inclusive effective and child-centred RSE was teacher confidence and competence,” said Dr. Patrick Sullivan, who is the deputy chief executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

The NCCA is Ireland’s official curriculum body at the Department of Education.

Sullivan added that many teachers had doubts that the RSE curriculum they were to deliver was “age-appropriate.”

“What can happen is that, with a teacher who is feeling unconfident and maybe a little bit unsure of themselves in the classroom, that they can think about, ‘maybe I can’t address that particular issue, maybe it’s not age and stage appropriate for me to speak about this issue with these groups of children,’” he said.

The development comes as Gript has begun to release reports about NCCA teachers’ guides, with Irish teachers being encouraged to learn about “crossdressing” for “erotic enjoyment,” as well as “drag,” and “gender-fluid” identities when preparing RSE & SPHE lessons for primary students.

Additionally, NCCA education officer Annette Honan told the Committee that school ethos was actually not as significant a barrier to RSE as had previously believed.

“We met groups of teachers, students, school leaders and parents across 20 schools as part of the review of a variety of types of schools, and we didn’t fudge it,” she said.

“We directly asked: ‘Is school ethos a barrier to more effective RSE or is it inhibiting you in any way in addressing topics across the curriculum?’ It didn’t come up unprompted.”

She added: “For the most part they identified other things that were much more an issue in terms of enabling them to become more effective, or disabling them, as the case may be.”

Honan said that many representative bodies she had spoken to were “really keen to address the myth that Catholic schools are standing in the way of good RSE.”

“That is quite typical of the response of some of the church representative groups,” she said.

Gript recently published a report on radical feminist ideas being pushed within Leaving Cert curriculum, which can be viewed below.



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