In June Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris announced that was imposing new Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) on post primary schools across NI with a special focus on teaching children about contraception and accessing abortions.
He intends the lessons should be taught "in a factual way that does not advocate, nor oppose, a particular view on the moral and ethical considerations of abortion or contraception".
After stiff criticism about the absence of a normal public consultation, he launched a short survey this term – but only on parental opt out rights regarding contraception and abortion lessons.
The TUV published its submission yesterday, adding: “Importantly, nowhere in the consultation can teachers express their opposition to teaching about access to abortion and contraception as a ‘right’. Why are the rights of teachers being ignored? Is it the intention to coerce teachers to teach that which conflicts with their conscience or religious convictions?"
As the consultation closes on 24 November, and the resulting guidance must be published by the Department of Education by 1 January, the TUV "suspects that this is a box ticking exercise... rather than a genuine consultation”.
The consultation asks if parents should be allowed “an overview” of the RSE policy and curriculum. However, the TUV countered that they should actually have a right to view them “in detail” if they so wish.
The consultation is online at https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/de/rse-consultation/