Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has warned Northern Ireland is falling further and further behind the rest of the UK when it comes to developing relationship and sex education in schools.
The Belfast City Councillor – who drafted the Alliance Party’s policy on the issue – made the comments as steps forward on the issue were made across England and Wales.
She said: “Today, the UK government has taken major strides forward when it comes to standardising Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools, yet without an Executive in place Northern Ireland risks slipping further and further behind.
“Sex education in Northern Ireland is seriously lacking – along with leadership on this and many other issues. By failing to talk to children and young people about safe and healthy relationships, we are leaving them open to being completely unprepared for the relationships they will continue to have regardless. Rather than allowing them to confidently make informed choices, we are setting them up to make choices without all the relevant facts – a move that could lead to life changing outcomes.
“From developing children in the early stages of education, to allowing RSE to be delivered by experts in the field, incorporated into the curriculum, there is much we can do to change this situation and catch Northern Ireland up with the rest of the UK.
“Today Westminster made a commitment to see key changes in place by 2020 – yet another reason why it is essential we see devolved government returned to Stormont.”