Children can be withdrawn from controversial sex ed, RoI Minister confirms

Pupils will not have to sit through sex education classes that promote gender ideology if their parents disapprove, the Republic of Ireland’s Minister for Education has said.

Norma Foley TD made the pledge after parents raised strong objections about content from the draft Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme that denied the reality of biological sex.

The Government-backed document for 12 to 15-year-olds teaches that ‘gender identity’ is a “core” part of what it means to be human, and that it “may or may not” correspond with ‘sex assigned at birth’.


Foley said: “I believe in parental consent and at no point would I seek to undermine that”.

The Government, she explained, operate “a spirit of partnership with our parents” and they had “freedom to withdraw their students from anything that is happening within a school environment”.

In January, findings from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) consultation on the draft SPHE said the most common concern expressed by parents related to “references to gender identities”.

Some parents, the NCCA stated, “assert that this topic should not be included in the curriculum, as they hold the view that it may lead to questioning, confusion and even harm for some adolescents”.

Biological sex

The report also observed: “A further commonly expressed view was that the NCCA is seeking to promote ‘gender ideology’ by refusing to acknowledge the binary nature of gender.

“These respondents are strongly of the view that we are born as either male or female and that sex is binary and immutable.”

At the time, a number of parents told the NCCA of their intention to “withdraw their child from all SPHE classes, in the event of the updated specification being implemented”.

The new material will provide 100 hours of SPHE teaching over three years and is due to be implemented from the start of the next school year.

Also see:

Isle of Man halts sex ed lessons after ‘drag queen told kids there are 73 genders’

Teachers ‘abandoned’ by DfE on trans issues

Parental rights ignored by schools socially transitioning children

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