Teachers are qualified to teacher 11 subjects and are expected to do so fully, except for one: the Relationships and Sexuality Education curriculum, which is part of SPHE. For some peculiar reason, hundreds of teachers give up their classrooms for what is colloquially called “The Talk” and some outside speaker comes into the classroom to talk to children about RSE.
In the vast majority of schools, (because they are controlled by the Catholic Church,) these are run by an organisation called ACCORD, a Catholic organisation that receives government funding to provide a Catholic-flavoured RSE programme to children. This means they do not touch on any other relationship than a heterosexual one, they don’t touch on contraception and they also insist that sex happens in a committed relationship, i.e. marriage. Because over 90% of schools are run by the Catholic church, this obviously has very worrying consequences.
However, even when the speaker isn’t from a particular denomination, what message does it give to children that their teacher will not teach them about sex and relationships? Why would a teacher be uncomfortable talking about sex? It’s very worrying when one of the main adults in a child’s life looks like they cannot talk about sex to them. It makes the topic off-limits or strange or wrong.
Anyway, long story short, class teachers should teach their pupils the complete RSE curriculum. No excuses.