GUIDANCE or SEX education was issued this week to all Catholic primary and secondary schools by the Margaret Smart group.
The guidelines, which will be sent to all Catholic schools by next week, address the issue of sexual health, including HIV and AIDS and child abuse. Margaret Smart, director of the Catholic Education Service, told the Catholic Herald that the guidelines should be seen in the Context of the recent legislation
requiring all secondary schools, including Catholic ones, to place sex education on their curriculum as of September 1994.
"With this requiremeOt in mind, and in the context of 1:-.z Church's moral teaching, we take the 'whole person approach' in the teaching of sexuality, linking it always to the moral and spiritual requirements."
Ms Smart stressed that the Catholic Education Service did not see the teaching of sex education in the classroom as replacing the parental role in this area.
"The primary responsibility in sex education is with the parents, but we recognise that parents need support and assistance," she said.
The guidelines were issued following a statement this week by the Department of Education and Formation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales which stressed that education in personal relationships should be seen as part of spiritual, social and moral development.
The bishops' statement quoted Cardinal Hume's comments to the Institute of Education last month, in which he emphasised the need to "explicitly promote moral values in school."