This policy was formulated following discussions at a whole school staff meeting held under the provisions of the Haddington Rd./Croke Park agreements. All staff were consulted and invited to contribute to the development of the policy.
SPHE is a lifelong process which commences for each child on entry to our school in Junior infants. As part of our policy in Scoil Íosa, we will endeavour to facilitate the children by providing a foundation that will inform each child’s actions and decisions and will provide the basis for further development.

It is our intention that the SPHE programme in our school will enable each child to:

  • Develop a positive sense of self esteem, enhance social and communication skills and equip him/her with the knowledge and ability to lead a healthy life.
  • Display a sense of respect for all others regardless of colour, race or religious beliefs.

SPHE in Scoil Íosa will provide opportunities for each individual child to develop an appropriate framework of values, attitudes, understanding and skills that will inform his/her decisions and actions both now and into the future. This should enable him/her to respect and relate to themselves and others and become an active and responsible citizen. The development of our SPHE programme, particularly the component relating to RSE is influenced significantly by the ethos and characteristic spirit of the school.
SPHE in Scoil Íosa aims to encompass all of our children regardless of race, colour, creed or religion. It aims to foster inter and intra personal skills and to enable each child to partake in society with confidence, tolerance and with a positive identity and perception of themselves.

Aims and objectives
While seeking to meet the pupils’ needs, we will follow the aims and objectives of the S.P.H.E. Curriculum Statement pp. 9-10.
In addition, we emphasise the following:


  • To promote the personal development and well-being of the child
  • To foster in the child a sense of care and respect for himself/herself and others and an appreciation of the dignity of every human being
  • To promote the health of the child and provide a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects
  • To enable the child to make informed decisions and choices about the social, personal and health dimensions of life both now and in the future.
  • To develop in the child a sense of social responsibility, a commitment to active and participative citizenship and an appreciation of the democratic way of life
  • To enable the child to respect human and cultural diversity and to appreciate and understand the interdependent nature of the world. (Curaclam na Bunscoile P.9)


We acknowledge the objectives of the SPHE Curriculum as outlined on page 10 of the Curriculum Statement

When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances, the SPHE curriculum should enable the child to:

  • Be self-confident and have a positive sense of self-esteem
  • Develop a sense of personal responsibility and come to understand his/her sexuality and the processes of growth, development and reproduction
  • Develop and enhance the social skills of communication, co-operation and conflict resolution
  • Create and maintain supportive relationships both now and in the future
  • Develop an understanding of healthy living, an ability to implement healthy behaviour and a willingness to participate in activities that promote and sustain health
  • Develop a sense of safety and an ability to protect himself/herself from danger and abuse
  • Make decisions, solve problems and take appropriate actions in various personal, social and health contexts
  • Become aware of, and discerning about, the various influences on choices and decisions
  • Begin to identify, review and evaluate the values and attitudes that are held by individuals and society and to recognise that these affect thoughts and actions
  • Respect the environment and develop a sense of responsibility for its long-term care
  • Develop some of the skills and abilities necessary for participating fully in groups and in society
  • Become aware of some of the individual and community rights and responsibilities that come from living in a democracy
  • Appreciate and respect the diversity that exists in society and the positive contributions of various cultural, religious and social groups
  • Promote the values of a just and caring society in an age-appropriate manner and understand the importance of seeking truth and peace.

Content of the plan

Teaching / Learning content

Since SPHE is spiral in nature we will cover the following content at each level throughout the school over a two-year period:


Strand Units(Year 1)

Strand Units (Year 2)




Taking care of my body (Sept/Oct)

Growing and Changing (Nov/Dec)

Safety and Protection


Making decisions


Myself and others

Myself and my family


My friends and other people (Jan/Feb)

Relating to others


Myself and the wider world

Developing Citizenship




Teaching/Learning contexts

We will teach it in a combination of the following contexts:
A positive school climate and atmosphere and adopt strategies such as

  • building effective communication within the school
  • catering for individual needs
  • creating a health-promoting physical environment
  • developing democratic processes
  • enhancing self-esteem
  • fostering respect for diversity
  • fostering inclusive and respectful language
  • developing appropriate communication between home and school
  • developing a school approach to assessment

Discrete time
Time-tabled 1/2 hour per week or one hour per fortnight.


  • Science
  • Religion
  • Oral language – English and Irish

Special needs/sensitivities

  • Family circumstances
  • Children with learning difficulties
  • Special needs pupils

Approaches and Methodologies

  • We will adopt the following approaches and methodologies:
  • Talk and discussion
  • Skills through Content
  • Collaborative learning
  • Problem-solving
  • Use of the Environment
  • Active learning which includes drama activities, co-operative games, use of pictures, photographs and visual images, written activities, use of media and information technologies and looking at children’s work.

Provision for Training and Staff Development
In order to successfully implement this plan some/all the teaching staff have attended:

  • training in the Child Abuse Prevention Programme(Stay Safe)
  • training in the Substance Misuse programme (Walk Tall)
  • RSE workshops in conjunction with Mayo Education Centre.

Success criteria / Assessment

  • Confident children, who respect others and are tolerant of each other’s differences.
  • Independent children as regards decision making
  • Responsible decisions taken by pupils.
  • Pupils use their initiative in making decisions
  • Feedback from parents and pupils
  • Happy atmosphere in school

Self- assessment

  • Have I covered the agreed strand units?
  • What do we need to change?

Roles and responsibilities
We, the principal and teaching staff, believe that SPHE is a shared responsibility between family (home), school, health professionals and the community. We see ourselves supporting the home in this lifelong process and will seek at all times to develop positive relations with all of these parties.
The Principal in consultation with the other staff members will co-ordinate the progress of the plan, encourage and accept feedback on its implementation and report to staff on findings.

RSE Relationships and Sexuality Education

School Ethos/ Philosophy: as outlined in the school plan
Definition of RSE:
RSE encompasses the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the development of attitudes, beliefs and values about relationships, sexual identity and intimacy. It also seeks to provide children with opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of relationships and human sexuality, through processes, which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework.1

All of the RSE will be delivered within the context of SPHE, which is timetabled on our curriculum.. Sensitive (sexual) issues will be covered within the Strand Unit ‘Taking Care of my Body,’ ‘Growing and Changing,’ and ‘Safety and Protection.’

The RSE programme of study will be drawn up by the teaching staff under the umbrella of the SPHE programme of the school.

Aims: SPHE Curriculum Guidelines Pg. 9 and 10 – detailed in the school SPHE plan

Management and Organisation:

  • In this context parents are acknowledged as primary educators of their children and the school will work in a supportive role.
  • All content objectives will be covered by the time the children leave 6th Class.
  • Teachers’ rights to opt out from teaching the sensitive sexual issues will be respected
  • No member of staff is available to teach the sensitive sexual issues. A guest speaker -Orla Moran- will be invited to the school annually to deliver the contents of the programme to 5th/6th Class.
  • All information delivered will be informed by the content objectives of the SPHE Curriculum.
  • A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from the process will be respected on the understanding that the parents are taking full responsibility for this aspect of education themselves. It is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school of this decision.
  • Should a pupil require information that is not in line with the curriculum content and considered not to be age appropriate for the general body of pupils the school will send the question home to parents and they then can decide if the question should be answered
  • An outline of the content objectives will be available to parents before the commencement of the programme each year.

Policy and programme will be reviewed every three years.

Relevant RSE Documents

  • RSE Policy Guidelines
  • SPHE Curriculum Statement (Photocopy content objectives from SPHE Curriculum)
  • Parents’ Information Booklet, ‘Going forward Together’


  • RSE Manuals
  • Videos
  • Library Books
  • Resource material for parents
  • Invited speakers

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on _____________________2019

Signed : _______________________________
Chairperson Board of Management