Correspondence with Government on Flourish Programme in Schools
"Flourish" is a relationships and sexuality education (RSE) programme for primary schools, developed by the Irish Bishops’ Conference. The programme is available for use in Catholic primary schools, which account for about 90 per cent of all primary schools in Ireland.
Since its publication in April 2021 there has been widespread controversy about the Flourish programme, which conflates education on relationships and sexuality with a religious ideology/perspective on these topics. For example, an introduction to the programme states that when discussing LGBT issues, the “Church’s teaching in relation to marriage between a man and a woman cannot be omitted”.
In July 2021 the UCC LGBT+ Staff Network wrote to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, to express concerns about the Flourish programme and to propose the following:
- that the Dept of Education intervenes to stop the introduction of the Flourish programme in Irish primary schools and to ensure that all schools comply in full with the NCCA RSE curricular guidance;
- that the government acts on the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills which advocated for inclusive RSE with a stronger focus on relational dimensions;
- that whichever RSE syllabus is ultimately deployed in the primary education sector, it would be compliant with the precepts of equality and devoid of religious indoctrination.
The letter was co-signed by the LGBT+ Staff Networks of UCD and NUIG as well as a number of other staff from UCC, UCD, NUIG, MTU and NCAD.
A copy of the letter is below, along with acknowledgements from the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Education. This page will be further updated with any developments as they happen.