Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights, Senator Fintan Warfield speaking in the Seanad today raised the issue of ethos-based schools not teaching their pupils LGBTQI aspects of the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) curriculums.

The Education Act 1998 provides that an ethos-based school can derogate from aspects of curriculum in order to uphold the “characteristic spirit” of said school.

Senator Warfield said:

“Many pupils across the state are not taught how to have safe sex, the boundaries of consent, relevant health information or how to have healthy relationships because of their sexuality or gender identity. This serves, in my view, to cement the stigma and isolation that a young person feels during their formative years when their sexuality or gender identity isn’t perceived as a norm as dictated to them by their school.

“While not all ethos-based schools confine their RSE modules to heterosexuality and that many work hard to ensure their pupils are informed in an inclusive and equal setting, it is important that the Government act to ensure that no child is excluded from vital health and welfare based education during their formative years.”