Consultation shows RSE cannot be taught in a moral vacuum: Dodds

DUP Education Spokesperson Diane Dodds has said the Department of Education’s public consultation on changes to Relationship and Sexuality Education regulations demonstrate that issues such as abortion cannot be taught in a moral vacuum.

By Diane Dodds MLA

Upper Bann

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The Upper Bann MLA said, “Throughout this process we have stressed that parents are best placed to determine what is in the best interest of their child and that the ethos and values of schools must be respected. We will take time to study the full consultation results, but there are some notable results within the consultation responses.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents disagreed with the proposal that issues such as abortion should effectively be taught within a moral vacuum. That is vindication of our stance that a sensitive and emotive issue such as abortion simply cannot be discussed outside of a wider framework of moral and ethical perspectives.

There was an overwhelming majority of 91% who agreed that parents should be informed about the nature and content of RSE curriculum. An even higher percentage agreed that parents should have access to an overview of the school’s RSE policy and curriculum. Again, this strongly reflects the approach we have taken in relation to this issue from the beginning.

Whilst there was a more mixed overall response to the statement in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, underneath this there were 61% of respondents who were clear that parents rights should take precedent in relation to teaching.

It is clear this consultation generated significant interest and engagement but particularly from parents who are key stakeholders in the process. We will continue to monitor the progress being made by the Department of Education in taking this forward. Their task must now be to ensure that parents wishes are implemented and to see that reflected in the regulations that will be published.”

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