PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Rights Alliance Response to SPHE Curriculum Reform for Junior Cycle

Published date: 
19 Jul 2022


Children’s Rights Alliance Response to SPHE Curriculum Reform for Junior Cycle

The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomed the publication today (18 July 2022) of the draft Junior Cycle Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) by the Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD. The new updated curriculum is proposing to cover: Understanding myself and others; making healthy choices; relationships and sexuality, and emotional wellbeing.

Commenting on the launch, Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance said today that:
“The publication of the draft curriculum is an important milestone when it comes to the social and emotional development of young people in Ireland. Children and young people are growing up in a complex social environment and we have to make sure that they have the right toolkit to navigate it. From a first look, it is welcome that there is a core focus on supporting young people to understand the physical, social and emotional changes during adolescence. It is also welcome as part of this work, young people will be supported to appreciate sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This was lacking in the previous approach.

Bullying is often named as the one number issue blighting children’s and young people’s experience in school. The curriculum also aims to deal with gender stereotyping and discrimination based on race and sexual orientation.

The curriculum sets out to explore human sexuality and relationships including how to identify the signs of healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. It also covers the area of consent. This is extremely welcome as some concerning studies are showing us that a significant proportion of young people do not understand nor accept that they must seek consent. This is why we need a top-down approach to change attitudes and ensure that all young people are equipped to understand the issue.”

Tanya Ward continued:

“Over the coming weeks, we will be consulting with our members on the proposed content. This is an opportunity to ensure that the proposed SPHE curriculum hits the right target and addresses important issues."


For media queries please contact Emma Archbold: / 087 9971410

Notes to Editors:
• Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.

Please include details of our Helpline:
Children's Rights Alliance helpline: 01 902 0494
Open Mondays 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays 10am to 4pm and Friday 10am to 12 noon

About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 140 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL.