The Catholic Education Partnership (CEP) has welcomed the publication by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) of the Junior Cycle Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum specification.
CEP’s Chief Executive, Alan Hynes, said, “Catholic schools will engage positively with the SPHE curriculum, recognising that SPHE is an important part of a holistic education, contributing to the wellbeing of our young people. The curriculum addresses understanding the self and others, emotional wellbeing, relationship and sexuality education, and on making informed and healthy choices. Catholic schools will seek to propose the Catholic perspective on the full range of the curriculum, in dialogue and encounter with other points of view.
“CEP will shortly be publishing a draft relationship and sexuality education resource for use in Junior Cycle. This resource complements and is in line with the NCCA’s specification and will assist Catholic schools in proposing the Catholic view on RSE in a confident and positive manner, while inviting students to engage critically with Catholic teaching and other world-views”, Mr Hynes said.
The CEP noted the July 2022 testimony of the NCCA before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Gender Equality that teacher confidence and competence is the main barrier to the successful delivery of SPHE in schools. The CEP calls on the Minister for Education to work with the education partners to address this significant difficulty, and affirms that the Catholic education sector in Ireland will continue to play a positive role in securing the wellbeing of our young people, and that of the common good of our society.