It wouldn’t be unfair to say, that on Irish shores, our current sex education is nothing to boast about. Indeed, a report last month said the current, 20-year-old system was outdated. It is hoped new changes will be introduced by the end of 2019, to reflect our changing society.
The UK are fully embracing similar changes to their curriculum, with the news that the Department for Education (DfE) in Britain has unveiled fresh guidelines for sex and health education across England; relationships, cyber safety, consent and menstrual and mental health are all set to be included as part of the new curriculum.
Theirs hasn’t been updated since 2000.
And primary school children will start learning about relationships and issues such as age-appropriate online safety – including what to do if they come across things they are uncomfortable with and the risks of talking to people on the internet who they don’t know in real life.
Under new compulsory health education lessons, primary children will also be taught about how to look after their own mental wellbeing and also to recognise when their classmates might be struggling.
The revised programme will be LGBT inclusive.
Three new subjects have been created to include relationships education from primary school, relationships and sex education at secondary school, and health education for all ages in which students will learn about the importance of getting enough sleep, the dangers of sexting and how to spot anxiety in their friends, according to the BBC.
According to the guidelines, secondary school pupils will also be taught about female genital mutilation (FGM) and menstrual health. ”
Although sex education is only mandatory to teach at secondary, it must be grounded in a firm understanding and valuing of positive relationships, and respect for others, from primary age,” explained education secretary Damian Hinds.
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