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The Countess submission to the NCCA consultation on the draft Senior Cycle Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Short Course curriculum.

The Countess has produced a submission to the public consultation on the draft Senior Cycle Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Short Course curriculum.  The consultation process remains open until Friday, November 3rd, 2023.  We encourage parents, students, educators and other interested parties to make their own submission. 

We have provided a summary of the key points made in our submission that may help you make your own contribution.  Information on how to submit your views is provided below.

Key points from The Countess submission to the public consultation on the draft Senior Cycle SPHE curriculum:

  1. The specification uses language that indicates a commitment to the ‘affirmative’ model of care for gender dysphoric people.  This is dangerous and not supported by evidence.
  2. The draft SPHE curriculum is homophobic. It obscures the difference between sex and gender. This destroys the concept of SAME SEX atttaction. The SPHE specification only offers definitions for gender, gender identity, and gender expression. Not sex. This must be amended.                  
  3. Strand 2 addresses relationships and sexuality.  It is accompanied by a specific instruction that centre’s LGBTQ+ experiences.  This instruction elevates this group above all others.  There is no instruction to fully integrate and reflect the experiences of the disabled, different ethnic groups, different social economic groups, heterosexuals or people of faith.  The draft specification fails to be inclusive of every student. It does not celebrate, value, or respect diversity of thought, opinion, or belief. 
  4. The draft specification fails to offer coherent and high-quality education with opportunities for critical, creative, and innovative thinking.  Instead, the curriculum promotes radical academic theories such as ‘allyship’ and ‘critical social justice’.  These concepts replace tolerance and solidarity with the endless search for opportunities to be personally offended or offended on behalf of someone else.  Students must be permitted to think and speak freely about contentious topics. Free speech ensures we can tell the truth.
  5. The draft online toolkit for teachers continues to centre the deeply ideological University of Limerick/TENI resources among others. The contents of the UL/TENI toolkit contradict elements of the draft SC SPHE curriculum including definitions included in the glossary.  The UL/TENI resource undermines coherent teaching and delivery of the curriculum and undermines child safeguarding by conflating sex and gender.  
  6. The introduction of CASEL (Collaborative for Social and Emotional Skills) into any level of the Irish education system is cause for serious concern. CASEL is not defined or explained.  The NCCA must address the following,
  • CASEL’s claims to “evidence-based” practice.
  • How data required to implement TSEL (transformative SEL) will be collected, retained, and/or monetised.
  • The safety and legality of unlicenced teachers practicing ‘therapy’ in the classroom.
  • The financial costs of implementing TSEL.
  • Is it the intention of the NCCA to introduce TSEL into primary education?

The closing date is Friday, November 3rd 2023. 

How do I make a submission?

Your submission can be made using any of the links below or you may prefer to send your submission using this template by email to

Parents/carers can make their submission to the draft curriculum here.

Teachers can make their submission to the draft curriculum here.

Students can make their submission to the draft curriculum here.

Defend you right to be heard.

In their 2022 report on the Junior Cycle consultation process the NCCA described perspectives that were critical of the curriculum contents as ‘petition style communications’.  This was an attempt to delegitimise valid concerns.  How can citizens who share similar views and avail of grassroot resources to express those views avoid being smeared as bad faith actors?  To address this, we urge you to refer to The Countess resources in your submission and to state clearly that you reject any suggestion that by using our resources you are attempting to derail a public consultation process. On the contrary, your input is evidence that the public consultation process is working.  That what you have to say disagrees with what the NCCA wants to implement is not just cause to ignore your views. We also suggest that you copy your response and send it to Minister Norma Foley , the Department of Education and Skills and your local TDs.