Foróige welcomes this week’s report from the Joint Committee on Education and Skills which recommends reform of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum in schools. We were delighted to see Foróige mentioned specifically as a leading organisation providing inclusivity in their RSE programme and showing “statistically significant positive effects in young people’s attitude to members of the LGBTQI+ community.”
Young people have been telling us of their need for comprehensive RSE education. Foróige have been supporting young people, for over 60 years, and in response developed a current, inclusive and holistic youth-centred RSE programme; Relationships Explored and Life Uncovered (REAL U). REAL U incorporates modules that meet the needs of the recommendations highlighted by the Committee, including:
• Gender and Sexuality: Inclusive of all identities, orientations and types of relationships.
• Sexual Consent: What it means, how to negotiate it and its importance in positive sexual experiences.
• Understanding Pornography: Supporting young people to differentiate between pornography and the reality of a relationship.
A key component of the review by the Department of Education and Skills, and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), was a call for recommendations from professionals in the education and NGO sector. Foróige was invited to share its expertise, and present a submission to the Oireachtas Committee for Education and Skills in June 2018. This submission outlined Foróige’s support for reform of the RSE curriculum and highlighted its core recommendations on specific content, and the approach needed in schools to deliver a comprehensive and holistic RSE curriculum to cater for the needs of modern Irish young people.
Furthermore, Foróige supports the decision that RSE should be facilitated by fully supported, trained and accredited teachers. This is a positive step towards a holistic and comprehensive RSE for young people. Foróige looks forward to continuing to work with the NCCA on the review of RSE in schools; firstly through sharing expertise in supporting young people regarding RSE and secondly through sharing knowledge of the development and facilitation of evidence based programmes and quality training.