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Relationship and sex education in Northern Ireland: ‘The damage that is being done while we drag our heels is criminal’

Campaigners, young people and some teachers have called for a standardised sex education curriculum to be taught in NI classrooms for years. Amy Cochrane speaks to activists and organisations calling for a ‘more inclusive’ curriculum to be made mandatory

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Way forward: sex education in the classroom has proven difficult

Way forward: sex education in the classroom has proven difficult

Matthew Taylor, co-founder of youth-led mental health charity Pure Mental NI

Matthew Taylor, co-founder of youth-led mental health charity Pure Mental NI

Aisling Twomey, policy and advocacy manager for the Rainbow Project

Aisling Twomey, policy and advocacy manager for the Rainbow Project

Arlene McLaren

Arlene McLaren

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Way forward: sex education in the classroom has proven difficult

Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Northern Ireland is a topic that appears in and out of the headlines. It’s a divisive issue; for many across Northern Ireland the widespread opinion held is that it is simply a “failure” on the vital development of our young people. For others — commonly those who advocate traditional Christian teachings — the status quo should remain.

Currently RSE is different in each school and there is no one set curriculum that is being implemented universally across all schools in Northern Ireland. The Department of Education simply requires each school to develop its own RSE policy based on the “school ethos” and it is a matter for each school to decide what is taught.

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Katrina McDonnell, founder of the Homeless Period Belfast

Katrina McDonnell, founder of the Homeless Period Belfast

Katrina McDonnell, founder of the Homeless Period Belfast

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