The uproar surrounding sex education classes in a Manx high school was largely unjustified, an investigation into the situation has revealed.
The Daily Mail and some other media reported that a drag queen had delivered lessons at Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel and that some of the material was graphic.
The summary of evidence and interim conclusions for part of an investigation into the Isle of Man’s relationships and sex education (RSE) curriculum has now been received.the Department of Education, Sport and Culture.
The first part of the investigation examined elements of a day for Year 7 (aged 11 and 12) pupils at Queen Elizabeth II High School in September 2022.
It centred around claims that an individual in drag had delivered a sex education talk and had asked a pupil to leave the room during a discussion on gender identities.
But the investigation found that no one was dressed in drag; the speaker concerned did not deliver a sex education talk; and they did not ask a pupil to leave the room during a discussion on gender identities.
Within the conversation around gender identities, a pupil asked a guest speaker how many genders there were. They replied that there 'could be as many as 72' gender identities.
During the presentation, the teachers present 'managed the behaviour of the class as would be expected'.
At one point, a pupil was asked by one of the teachers to step outside the classroom.
At no point did a guest speaker remove a child from the classroom, nor did they request the removal of any child.
The teacher sought to remind the pupil of the school’s expectations and both the pupil and teacher returned to the classroom for the rest of the presentation.
The DESC said that the guest speaker’s presentation aimed to 'provide guidance on the use of gender-neutral language' and 'increase the understanding of the concept of gender in the LGBTQ+ environment'.
Julie Edge MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said: 'I am satisfied that the initial facts have now been established and further work will commence to ascertain the age appropriateness of all input into this area, following the completion of the first part of this investigation.
'It is right that parents should feel able to raise concerns they may have about any aspect of their child’s education. The facts established reveal there has been misrepresentation of what took place at the drop down day at QEII, which is most regrettable. I am pleased we are now able to dispel the inaccuracies.
'It is vital that all stakeholders are focussed upon obtaining the facts to enable us to move forward.
'This has been an extremely difficult time for everyone involved with QEII. I would like to thank all staff at school for their professionalism under intense personal pressure.'
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture last month suspended its RSE curriculum in all its schools while the independent external investigation is carried out.
The investigation has two more stages - the preparation and delivery of RSE in QEII and a review RSE curriculum, guidance and training provided by DESC.