Northern Ireland news

New programme focused on relationship and sex education to be rolled out in primary schools

The Catholic Schools’ Trustee Service and Council for Catholic Maintained Schools launch new relationship and sex education resources for primary schools

A NEW programme focused on relationship and sex education is to be rolled out in Catholic primary schools across Northern Ireland.

The 'Flourish' resources aims to "encourage healthy, age appropriate dialogue in a safe environment".

Launched by the Catholic Schools’ Trustee Service and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), it has been adapted to meet the context and curriculum in Northern Ireland.

Bishop Donal McKeown, chair of CCMS and CSTS, said relationships and sex education (RSE) is "essential for the development and long-term wellbeing of children and young people".

"I am very pleased to introduce the Flourish programme which will provide schools with an opportunity to enhance how RSE is taught in our schools," he said.

"I believe that the resources will prove particularly beneficial to our educators.

"Catholic schools listen, encourage constructive dialogue, and support the development of understanding in all areas of life. In so doing they provide the opportunity for a young person’s holistic growth. To do so it is important that we support schools, teachers, and young people with high quality, relevant, RSE resources which promote critical thinking within a moral framework.

"The new programme will promote the dignity and worth of every student whilst simultaneously providing a safe space for students to recognise the importance of healthy relationships and develop the skills needed to form and sustain them in the future."

Fintan Murphy, chief executive of CSTS, said the new programme is "designed to ensure our pupils are taught the knowledge and life skills needed to form healthy and supportive relationships".

"The programme is being offered to schools as a resource, approved for use in the Catholic primary school sector," he said.

"Work on post primary resources is at an advanced stage with roll out expected later in 2022. We are confident, from feedback already received, that schools will find the resources extremely valuable in enhancing the work they already undertake in this important area of the curriculum."

Gerry Campbell, CCMS chief executive, added: "This positive step will ensure that Catholic schools are appropriately resourced with effective material to equip future generations of children with the knowledge and confidence to navigate challenges and develop positive relationships."

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