Consent to be taught in schools in Ireland as part of updated relationship and sexuality education

The Irish Minister for Education, in replying to a parliamentary question, has stated that consent is one of a number of subjects that needs to be taught in schools following a review of relationships and sexuality education carried out by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (“NCCA”).

In 2018 the then Minister for Education, Richard Bruton asked the NCCA to review relationships and sexuality education in schools with a view to ensuring that it was “fit for purpose” and the NCCA was asked to specifically review the issue of consent and what it implies.

The NCCA as part of its review was also asked to look into “… developments in relation to contraception; healthy, positive, sexual expression and relationships; safe use of the internet; the role of school ethos; and LGBTQ+ matters.”

The Minister went on to say that the NCCA are of the view that guidance materials and training for teachers will be required in order to create a wider understanding of what is involved in teaching on the issue of consent and therefore the newly updated relationship and sexuality education will not be introduced in schools until September 2023.

The Minister has not confirmed at what stage consent will be taught in schools but she has said that the junior cycle Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum will be updated first, followed by the revamping of the senior cycle and primary school curricula.


Written by James Chambers at BLM (james.chambers@blmlaw.com)

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