Relationships and Sexuality RSE Policy

Introductory Statement & Rationale

This policy statement is an approved approach to the teaching of RSE in Scoil Íde Primary School.  It was developed to inform teachers and parents as to what material is covered in the RSE programme within SPHE.
School Philosophy/Ethos
Scoil Íde Primary School is a mixed Catholic school serving an urban area under the trusteeship of the Bishop of Limerick.  Our school aims to give the children in our care a sound religious and moral education within the established Catholic ethos of the school and to help them establish a faith in God which will grow and develop. The ethos of Scoil Íde can be seen in the everyday dealings with all those who work in the school have with each other. It is manifested in the respect and consideration shown by teachers to pupils and vice versa. We are proud of the children who are part of our school and hope they go on to become fulfilled adults.
Definition of RSE
RSE aims to provide opportunities for children to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social frame work. It is an integral part of the Social, Personal and Health Education and is taught in this context. RSE aims to help children learn, at home and in school, about their own development, about their friendships and relationships with others.  This work is based on developing a good self-image and self-esteem and providing them with appropriate information.
RSE in the context of our SPHE programme

SPHE is a subject on the school curriculum that provides opportunities for pupils to learn basic personal and social skills which foster integrity, self-confidence and self-esteem while nurturing sensitivity to the feelings and rights of others. It is taught from Junior Infants up to 6th class. RSE forms part of this programme. It is a spiral curriculum which ensures that topics are taught in a developmental manner through the child’s primary school years. SPHE aims to develop the child’s emotional, moral, social and spiritual growth as well as their intellectual, physical, political, religious and creative development.  The content of the school’s SPHE programme covers a wide range of topics such as healthy eating, alcohol and drug awareness, environmental issues, safety and social responsibility as well as RSE.
Including RSE in the Curriculum
RSE is facilitated in the following ways
· in the context of a positive school climate and atmosphere
· in the context of an effective code of behaviour and anti-bullying policy
·  as part of religious education
·  as part of timetabled SPHE
· on an integrated cross curricular basis
Aims of our RSE programme
· To help young people develop healthy friendships and relationships
· To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of the child.
· To foster an understanding of, and a healthy attitude to, human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
·  To enable the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction.
· To develop and promote in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life.
·         To enable the child to be comfortable with the sexuality of oneself and others while growing and developing.
Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of RSE in our school:
We recognise that the parents are the primary educators of their children and that the home is the natural environment in which RSE should take place. The role of the school, therefore, is seen as one of support of the work of the home in this area. The content objectives covered will be taught as laid down by the Department of Education and Skills in the SPHE Curriculum 1999.
·  RSE will be taught in all classes
· The SPHE/RSE curriculum will be of a spiral nature and all content objectives will be covered by the time children leave 6th class
·  Questions arising from lesson content will be answered in an age-appropriate manner.
·  All resources used in the teaching of the programme will be in keeping with the ethos of the school and in the spirit of this policy
·  RSE will be delivered to the 5th and 6th class boys and girls (separately) by two trained teachers on staff. Parents of these pupils will be invited to attend a talk on the content of these lessons prior to them being taught
·         For an outline of the RSE programme – see Append
· For the vocabulary to be taught in the sensitive areas – see Appendix II
School Policies and Curricular Plans which support our RSE
Traditionally, we are a child-centred school. The educational and emotional needs of the children in our care are central to our curricular planning and policy making processes.
· Grow in Love
SPHE Curriculum

· Stay Safe Programme
· School’s Code of Behaviour and Discipline Policy
· Anti –Bullying Policy
· Child Protection Policy
· Enrolment Policy
·ICT and Social Media Expected Use Policy
·  Administration of Medicine Policy
In keeping with the sentiment and spirit of these policies, we informally support many of the aims on which RSE is modelled. We encourage good behaviour, open communication, understanding and tolerance of differences and respect for staff and others. We recognise that both pupils and staff have rights and responsibilities in our school. A sense of responsibility is fostered, and attention is paid to the well-being of all the members of the school community.
One half hour period per week is timetabled for each class for SPHE.  RSE will be included in the programme taught during this time.  It is envisaged that some aspects of RSE (including the sensitive issues, will be taught through a number of core periods while some material may be taught in a cross curricular manner. The “sensitive issues” of RSE will be taught in each classroom during the Second Term.
Parental Involvement
RSE is an ongoing process throughout life.  Parents are acknowledged primary educators of their children and the school work in partnership with them in a supportive role.  On enrolment of their child, parents will be provided with an overview of the SPHE/RSE programme and with a copy of this policy document.  Each year prior to implementation of the RSE programme parents will be informed when the teacher will begin to teach the programme.  The curriculum books and resource materials are available online on and parents are welcome to view these if desired.
Withdrawal from RSE
Sice RSE is an obligatory requirement of the Department of Education and Skills it should be inclusive.  However, a parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from themes pertaining to sensitive issues will be respected on the understanding that the parent is taking full responsibility for this aspect of education.  Parents are obliged to inform the school in writing of their decision to withdraw the child from the classes based on sensitive issues. The school cannot be responsible for any information which a child may receive outside the direct teaching of RSE lessons.
Pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Consultation with parents of pupils with SEN may be required. At the request of parents of pupils with SEN, the school will facilitate the teaching of the lessons on ‘sensitive issues’ on another occasion individually or in a small group setting. A variety of teaching methodologies may be required for some children.
Confidentiality and Child Protection

Where there is disclosure by a child of abuse, the school will follow the Department of Education and Skills child protection guidelines and guidelines as set out in “Children First”.
Stay Safe Programme
RSE Manuals
Busy Bodies
Making the Links
Other resource material as deemed appropriate by class teachers in consultation with the Principal
Provision for Ongoing Support
For parents
· Parents are welcome to view the curriculum if they wish
· There will be contact with parents prior to and during the teaching of lessons involving “sensitive issues”.  Parents of 5th and 6th class pupils will be invited to a briefing on the lessons which will outline the RSE programme for those pupils. Copies of the       ‘Busy Bodies’ booklets will be available to parents at this meeting.
For teachers
· The Board of Management will support in-career development in the area of SPHE/RSE as opportunities arise
This policy will be implemented during school year 2019/2020.
This policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis or sooner should a need arise.  Parents and staff will be informed of any amendments made.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 01/04/19 and updated on 04/12/19.
Signed: Maureen Hobbins                        Signed: Grace Burke
Chairperson of Board of Management            Principal/Secretary to the Board of Management
Date:  04/12/19                                      Date:  04/12/19
Appendix I

Overview of content Strand Infant Classes 1st and 2nd Classes
Strand Strand Units
Myself I am unique
My Body
As I grow I change
New Life
Feeling Safe
Feelings and emotions
Making decisions
I am unique
My Body
As I grow I change
New Life
Feeling Safe
Feelings and emotions
Making decisions
Myself and others Myself and my family

Myself and my friends
Special people in my life
Relating to others

Myself and my family
Myself and my friends
Other people
Relating to others
Strand 3rd and 4th Classes 5th and 6th Classes
Strand Units
Myself Accepting myself

Physical development
Growing and changing
Birth and new life
Feelings and emotions
Personal Hygiene
Personal Safety
Making decisions

Accepting myself
Physical development
Becoming an adultParenthood
Feelings and emotions
Personal Hygiene
Personal Safety
Making decisions
Myself and others Roles and responsibilities in families

Portrayal of sexuality and relationships
Roles of males and females in society
Relating to others

Changing relationships in families and friendships
Group affiliation and loyalty
Portrayal of sexuality and relationships
Sexua stereotypes
Relating to others

Appendix II

Class Language Taught
Junior/Senior Infants “womb”

“penis”, “vulva” and “urethra”-taught as obvious physical differences between boy/girl

“breast-feeding” may be used in conversations as a means of feeding a baby.

First/Second Class “penis” and *urethra” taught in terms of passing urine

(See DES Resource Materials p 70-71)

Third/Fourth Class Revision of terms listed above.
“developing foetus”
“umbilical cord”
Fifth/Sixth Class “growth spurt”


“development of breasts”
“fallopian tubes”
“sperm production”
“wet dreams”
“sexual intercourse”
“puberty”, “human reproduction” and “sexual intercourse” in the context of a loving family
Deveopment of baby in womb
Birth of baby
(See DES RSE resource materials for 5th and 6th)