Relationship and Sexuality Education Policy

Introductory Statement

This policy is an approved approach to the teaching of Relationships and Sexuality Education in Kilbeg N.S. It was developed to inform teachers and parents as to what material is covered in the RSE programme within SPHE.

School Philosophy

We recognise that SPHE is intrinsic to the teaching and learning that occurs both formally in the school and in the classroom. Through our SPHE programme and subsequently through RSE, we wish to assist children to develop feelings of self-worth and self- confidence while encouraging their ability to relate to others in a positive way. The curriculum also encourages children to be aware of their rights as an individual while at the same time accepting responsibility for their actions as members of the school and the wider community. Our school values the uniqueness of all individuals within a caring school community. Our ethos means that we value the respect, tolerance and openness through the lived experience of the children and school community. Parents have the primary role in the social, personal and health education of their children so their involvement will be encouraged as much as possible. SPHE and RSE are key components in supporting our school and children to develop into healthy young adults.

Definition of RSE

Relationship and Sexuality education (RSE) aims to provide opportunities for children and young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and responsible way

Relationship of RSE to SPHE

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) 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.

Current Provision 

Included in the school curriculum is:

  • SPHE lessons (provided through discrete curricular time and integration)
  • Use of the RSE Manuals and Busy Body resources
  • Stay safe Programme / Walk Tall Programme
  • Religious Education

Aims of our RSE programme

  • To help young people develop healthy friendships and relationships
  • To promote a healthy attitude to sexuality and to 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-(Sixth Class)
  • To understand the physical changes taking place with the onset of puberty- Senior Classes
  • 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.

We support the aims on which RSE is modelled.  We encourage good behaviour, open communication, understanding and tolerance of differences, and respect for self 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 wellbeing of all of the members of the school community.

Policies which support SPHE/RSE 

  • Child Protection Policy
  • Code of behaviour and discipline
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Enrolment Policy
  • Healthy Eating Policy
  • Acceptable Use Policy

Child Protection 

This policy is cognisant of all aspects of our current Child Protection Policy. The school follows the DES child protection guidelines and has a child protection policy with the Principal as Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and the Deputy Principal as the Deputy DLP. Where a child protection concern is raised, the procedures outlined in the schools Child Protection Policy will be followed.

Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of RSE in our School

Curriculum Matters

  • Curriculum Content –The curriculum by NCCA will be followed as published, and will be taught from infants to 6th class. All resources used will be in keeping with the ethos of the school, the whole school plan for SPHE and the RSE policy. Each class teacher will teach the content for their class level.
  • Where an outside speaker is used, the class teacher will remain in the classroom, as per circular 22/2010. The speaker will be made aware of the school’s RSE policy.
  • The Stay Safe programme will be implemented throughout the school.
  • The class teachers will coordinate the teaching of Stay Safe every second year starting in February.

Topics covered up to 2nd class include:

  • Keeping Safe
  • Bodily changes during grown and birth (birth to 9)
  • Making age appropriate choices
  • Appreciating family life
  • Recognising and expressing feelings
  • Self-care, hygiene, diet, exercise and sleep
  • Expressing opinions and listening to others
  • Naming the parts of the male/ female body using appropriate anatomical terms (Junior/ Senior Infants)
  • Naming the parts of the male/ female body using appropriate anatomical terms and identify some of their functions (1st/2nd)

Topics from 3rd to Sixth include:

  • Bodily changes
  • Healthy eating, personal hygiene, exercise
  • Keeping Safe
  • Expressing Feelings
  • Family relationships
  • Making healthy and responsible decisions
  • Forming Friendships
  • Discuss the stages and sequence of development of the human baby in the womb( Fourth class)
  • Changes that occur in boys and girls with the onset of puberty (Sixth Class)
  • Reproductive system of male/female adults (Sixth Class)
  • Understanding sexual intercourse, conception and birth within the context of a committed loving relationship.( Sixth Class)

Organisational Matters:

  • Parents will be informed in advance of lessons on the sensitive areas of the RSE programme.
  • If children are withdrawn from the lessons pertaining to the sensitive elements of the RSE programme, they must give a notice in writing to the school that they are withdrawing their child. The child will be accommodated in another teacher’s classroom in the school.
  • Parents have a responsibility to become involved, to inform themselves of the programme content and to prepare children for the information they will acquire around the sensitive areas and discuss areas covered in RSE/SPHE. Parents are invited/welcome to view the curriculum and may speak to the class teacher if they have any concerns.
  • In the class situation children will be encouraged to recognise that certain information is for them only and it would be inappropriate to discuss this with younger siblings/children for example.
  • With regard to matters of a confidential nature, the school cannot take any responsibility for what is discussed in the yard or classroom.
  • If a Teacher has concerns about teaching the sensitive elements in RSE they should consult with the Principal. Any teacher has the right to opt out of teaching the sensitive elements of RSE. It is the responsibility of the B.O.M. to ensure content is covered by another teacher or an outside speaker.
  • Special consideration will be taken to ensure that the needs of children with SEN are met. Taking into account the pupil’s social and emotional development, instruction will be based on individual needs where possible. Parents will be consulted around sensitive issues.

Dealing with Questions:

It is natural that children should wish to ask questions in the area of RSE.

All questions answered will reflect the parameters of the curriculum. Certain topics are not in the primary RSE/SPHE programme and will not be discussed : abortion, masturbation, homosexuality, contraception.

Questions to the teacher may be oral or written within the group setting and answered within boundaries of the curriculum and school policy. If any questions asked by children are deemed to be inappropriate, the teacher will refer the child to their parents/guardians, or state that this information may be available at a later stage of the curriculum, or in post- primary school. The school cannot guarantee confidentiality if a child asks a question of a personal nature or discloses personal information. With regard to matters of a confidential nature, the school cannot take any responsibility for what is discussed in the yard or classroom outside of the RSE lesson.

The following considerations will be made when responding to children’s questions:

  • Awareness of circumstances in which the question has arisen
  • Clarification of what information is required
  • Determination of whether the question is appropriate or relevant/who it is relevant to
  • Provision of an age appropriate answer
  • Deferral of the question to be answered at home or in the future

Parental Involvement

  • Parents are welcome to view the curriculum and resources if they wish.
  • Contact will be made with parents prior to the teaching of Busy Bodies in 6th Class
  • The school acknowledges that parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children in sexual matters. The school RSE programme acts as a support to parents, and parents retain the right to withdraw their children from classes.

Resources

  • Relationships and Sexuality Education Manuals (DES). Each class teacher has a copy of the appropriate manual.
  • Stay Safe programme
  • Walk Tall Programme.
  • Busy Bodies DVD and booklet. This DVD and booklet were developed to support the teaching of the 6th class component of RSE within the context of SPHE. It is available for download at www.healthpromotion.ie
  • All resources are available for parents/guardians to view if they so request.

Provision of Ongoing Support

  • Opportunities provided by our Education Centre will be brought to the attention of staff members. Teachers will be encouraged to attend CPD in RSE.
  • Application for in-school support from PDST sought when necessary.
  • Staff meetings utilised as a platform for discussion and development of RSE materials.

This plan was ratified by the Board of Management at a meeting on:
Date: _______________________________________
Signed: _______________________________________
(Chairperson)
Date: _______________________________________
Signed: _______________________________________
(Principal)

 


RELATIONSHIPS and SEXUALITY EDUCATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Parent Information Leaflet

Introduction

Learning about relationships and sexuality is a process that goes on throughout our lives. Children learn primarily from their families. Therefore, as a parent, you are the first and most important teacher of your child when it comes to relationships and sexuality. A school based Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme can complement and support what children are learning at home. RSE is most effective when schools and parents work in partnership.

Partnership is supported when schools:
• Inform parents about what will be taught in RSE, and when it will be taught
• Consult with parents of a child with a learning difficulty to ensure that his/her needs are being met.
• Inform parents of their right to withdraw their child from the sex education component of RSE.
• Collaborate with parents when reviewing their RSE policy

The Department of Education and Skills requires all schools to teach RSE and to have an RSE policy. The policy will ensure that RSE is taught in a way that reflects the core values and ethos of the school.

The purpose of this leaflet is to give you some information about RSE. For more detailed information please go to the Drumcondra Education Centre website: www.ecdrumcondra.ie/programmes/rse

What is RSE?

RSE teaches children about relationships, sexuality and their own growth and development. The lessons give children the opportunity to reflect on their lives and their relationships in a social, moral and spiritual framework. RSE is taught in the context of a wider subject called Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE).

SPHE provides opportunities to:
• Foster the personal development of children
• Promote the health and well being of children
• Help children to maintain supportive relationships
• Encourage children to become active, responsible citizens

The lessons in SPHE are arranged under three strands: Myself, Myself and Others, Myself and the Wider World.

The RSE programme is incorporated into the strands Myself and Myself and Others. Each strand is sub-divided into strand units. These are shown below, with a very brief summary of their content. The Stay Safe Programme is also an aspect of SPHE and should be taught under the strand unit ‘Personal Safety’. The programme helps children to deal with upsetting, unsafe or frightening situations. For more information go to: www.staysafe.ie

JUNIOR INFANTS TO SECOND CLASS

MYSELF:

Self Identity: What makes me unique and special, becoming self reliant, making choices, expressing opinions.

Taking Care of My Body: Caring for one’s body, respect for one’s body and that of others, diet, hygiene, being able to name parts of male and female body using appropriate anatomical terms.

Growing and Changing: Understanding growth and change, exploring feelings, becoming aware of new life and birth, understanding a baby’s needs.

Safety and Protection: Identifying risks, developing strategies for keeping safe, understanding why there are rules.

MYSELF AND OTHERS:

Myself and My Family: Learning about how families love and take care of each other.

My Friends and Other People: Appreciating friendship, treating others with dignity and respect, recognising bullying behaviour, understanding that it is wrong and knowing what to do about it.

Relating to Others: Listening to others, practicing care and consideration towards others, resolving conflict.

THIRD TO SIXTH CLASS

MYSELF

Self Identity: Self awareness, self confidence, expressing feelings and opinions, coping with change, becoming more responsible, body image, identifying goals and targets.

Taking Care of My Body: Understanding health, dangers of substance misuse, personal hygiene, nutrition. For 3rd/4th Class: understanding physical changes for boys and girls. For 5th/6th Class children: understanding physical and other changes at puberty. For 6th Class understanding the male and female reproductive system.

Growing and Changing: Identifying and discussing feelings, having a positive sense of self. For 3rd/4th Class children:  being able to discuss the development of the human baby from conception to birth, recognising how feelings are influenced by puberty. For 6th Class children: understanding sexual intercourse, conception and birth in the context of a committed, loving relationship.

Safety and Protection: Identifying threats to safety, knowing how to keep safe, helping others to be safe.

Making Decisions: Decision making, understanding that decisions have consequences, recognising the role of adults in setting boundaries for young people.

MYSELF AND OTHERS

Myself and My Family: Exploring what it means to belong to a family, identifying behaviour that promotes harmony in families.

My Friends and Other People: Appreciating the importance of friendship, coping with the loss of friendship, learning how to deal with bullying, recognising the importance of courtesy, good manners and caring for others.

Relating to Others: Listening and communication skills, positive strategies for resolving conflict.