Dodds – parental opt-out must be in place

The DUP’s Education spokesperson Diane Dodds has held the first of a series of public engagements about the Department of Education’s consultation on changes to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Northern Ireland.

By Diane Dodds MLA

Upper Bann

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The consultation closes on 24 November 2023.

Speaking after the meeting in Banbridge Old Town Hall Diane Dodds said,

“RSE is a devolved issue and should have remained in the gift of a restored Executive and Assembly. Instead, these reforms were railroaded through without prior consultation with local communities.

I have been engaging with principals, teachers, governors and parents. Even at this late stage, there is deep uncertainty surrounding the impact of the changes. The Department of Education was expected to consult on the circumstances in which a parent will be able to request that their child is withdrawn from the new teaching. The consultation, however, offers precious little in the way of detail.

Parents are best placed to determine what is in the best interests of their child. They should be consulted on the development of all RSE materials. Parents, not head teachers, should have the final say on whether a pupil is withdrawn from RSE. A parental opt-out must be in place before the new teaching requirements take effect and must be unfettered as is the case for RE and collective worship. It must also not prevent parents from withdrawing their child from other elements of RSE.”


A further online session will take via zoom on 6th November. Please contact [email protected] to register your interest.

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