15 Sep 2017

Statement from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, on the Department of Education's report on school experiences of 16-21 yr old LGB&T people:

“It is unacceptable that any child feels unsafe or is treated differently because of their sexuality or gender identity.

“While I welcome the publication of this report, regrettably it comes as no surprise to those of us who talk to children and young people on a regular basis about this issue.

“Young people spend a significant amount of their time at school, they are required to be there and it must be a place where they feel accepted and safe, regardless of the values and beliefs of the schools they happen to attend.

“While there are many schools who work hard to make sure their school is an inclusive space for all children and young people, I call on the Department of Education to issue mandatory guidance on how we teach our children about ‘Relationships and Sexuality’.

“This mandatory education must be based on ethos and values that are informed by the rights and best interests of children.

“Whilst people are entitled to their opinions and beliefs, this should never mean that a child is treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity”

Ends

Notes to Editors