Young people deserve evidence based and inclusive Relationship and Sexuality Education says Egan

Alliance Education Spokesperson Connie Egan MLA met with officials from the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) today (2 February 2023) to discuss Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE). 

Connie Egan RSE

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has a legal requirement to ensure paragraphs 85 and 86 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report are implemented in respect of Northern Ireland, which includes age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate RSE. 

The North Down MLA said: “The meeting with officials from the NIO was positive and constructive. Obviously, I would prefer that our local MLAs were implementing RSE and the wider CEDAW recommendations, instead of the UK Government, but unfortunately as we do not have an Executive, it falls to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to implement. I would urge the Secretary of State to treat this as a priority and implement as soon as possible.”

Highlighting the importance of a statutory basis for RSE to deliver standardised, inclusive, and evidence-based RSE teaching for young people Ms Egan said. “A recent study by the Belfast Youth Forum has shown that 73% of young people said that they only received RSE ‘once or twice’, or ‘rarely’ and 60% of young people felt that that the information they received was either ‘not very useful’ or ‘not useful at all’. This simply isn’t good enough, we need to ensure our young people are receiving the relationship and sexuality education they need for healthy relationships today.”