Julie Edge has given an update on the sex education curriculum investigation.
The first stage of the independent, external investigation has now been completed.
The investigation has been separated into three parts. These are a drop down day, preparation and delivery of sex education in QEII, and the RSC advisory curriculum.
She said that Paul Morris and Richard Power were appointed as investigators and have now produced a report in respect of part one, as set out in terms of reference.
A drop down day replaces normal timetabled lessons to enable pupils to receive teaching from outside organisations. This was held in September 2022 at QEII.
It was publicly referred to as having a drag queen as guest speaker for 11 to 12-year-olds.
Topics included wellbeing, antisocial behaviour, relationships your body and you, and inclusion.
Ms Edge said public references to a drag queen are inaccurate as the guest speaker referred to does occasionally perform as a drag artist.
They were providing guidance of use of gender neutral language and the speaker made it clear that ‘the classroom was a safe place and no question was a silly question’.
The speaker in September 2022 did not discuss sex education and was only there to talk about gender identity. They were not present in February for the delivery of the RSC curriculum.
Part two of the investigation is being developed and the minister says it’s important to hear all views.
Further evidence gathering will commence from March 27.
The volume of evidence available is currently unknown, said Ms Edge, and it would be difficult to commit to a completion date.
It will be done as quickly as possible as the RSC curriculum is important in schools.
There is still work to be done, she added.
Ms Edge said: ‘My department will take that learning, implement appropriately and continue to improve.’
Further information will be available on the department’s website.