‘Neutral’ ethics plan dropped from primary curriculum

‘Neutral’ ethics plan dropped from primary curriculum

The head of the Catholic Education Partnership has welcomed the dropping of plans for a ‘neutral’ ethics programme at primary level, as a new round of consultation opens.

The State previously sought to introduce education about religion and beliefs (ERB), which was supposed to be a neutral approach.

“We have long argued this is based on a falsehood,” CEO of the CEP Alan Hynes told The Irish Catholic. “We are happy that the State has listened to us and this has been withdrawn.”

Mr Hynes’ comments come after the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) released draft primary curriculum specifications for wellbeing and social and environmental education, among others.

While formal religious education (RE) will drop from two and a half to two hours a week, Mr Hynes said the topic of world religions will now be dealt with under history and geography, rather than RE.

In addition, the hours allotted to wellbeing is “suited well” to a Catholic setting, with Catholic schools treating the wellbeing of the whole person for decades, said Mr Hynes.

The draft propose small changes around sex education, including teaching about puberty to third and fourth class. Mr Hynes said this reflects the fact that children are coming to primary school later and therefore are older when they reach these classes.

The consultation period is now open and remains open until June. Mr Hynes encouraged parents to make their views known, saying “parents’ voices ought to be key”.