Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy
Rathnure National School is a Catholic school and therefore all policies developed are implemented in ways which are in keeping with the ethos of the school. The ethos of the school is characterised by the following:
- Sensitive to reality of our children’s lives in a changing world
- Mutual respect between all partners in education
- Aims to ensure each child reaches full potential in the holistic sense
- Hopes that children are equipped with high self-esteem to enable them to go to live happy and fulfilled lives.
Definition of R.S.E.
R.S.E. is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education and must be taught in this context. It provides structured opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge and understanding of human sexuality and relationships through processes which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework (p. 5 NCCA interim curriculum and guidelines for R.S.E.)
Relationship of RSE to SPHE
RSE is an integral part of SPHE and must be taught in this context. It provides structured opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge and understanding of human sexuality and relationships through processes that will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework. In particular, it addresses the meaning of human sexuality, relationships, growth and development, relevant personal and social skills and aspects of parenting.
Aims of our R.S.E. Programme:
- To help young people develop healthy friendships and relationships.
- To promote a healthy attitude to sexuality and to relationships
- To enable the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of the child
- 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.
Relationships and Sexuality Education
Relationships will be a key part in the SPHE programme. R.S.E also deals with the issue of human growth and development, human sexuality and human relationships. In the Senior cycle (5th and 6th classes) some very sensitive issues will be dealt with but the children will have been prepared for these issues by the cyclical nature of the syllabus. Each year their awareness and knowledge is growing and expanding and they now have reached a very important stage in their development.
The R.S.E programme is delivered to all classes throughout the school using the “Stay Safe” programme from Junior Infants to Sixth Class, and the “Busy Bodies” programme for 5th and 6th classes. At the beginning of each R.S.E unit, parents will be made aware of the type of vocabulary to be used, however, this is not an exhaustive list. Parents will also receive links to both Stay Safe and Busy Bodies programmes whereby they can go online and view the programme content beforehand. When appropriate, worksheets for home/school links will be sent home for parents to discuss the content with their child.
GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION OF R.S.E. IN OUR SCHOOL
- The R.S.E. Policy is supported by the provision of the Stay Safe Programme and our Child Protection Policy. These all come under the “umbrella” of the SPHE Policy.
- If an outside speaker is used, the class teacher is responsible for making them aware of the school policy and that the teacher will sit in during the lesson.
- Boys and girls will be taught together.
- As part of the Science Curriculum “the identification of the parts of the human body is included at each level of the primary programme” and “children will be helped to develop ideas about the human body, growth, movement and breathing… the development of children’s ideas about body changes and reproduction should be done in accordance with the school’s policy on SPHE”.
Dealing with Questions:
- All questions answered will reflect the parameters of the curriculum. Questions to the teacher may be written or oral within the group setting and answered within the boundaries of the curriculum and policy. Any questions asked by the children that are judged to be inappropriate, the teacher will refer the child to their parents. The school cannot guarantee confidentiality if a child asks a question of a personal nature to themselves or discloses personal information. ( Refer to Child Safeguarding for further details).
Ongoing Support, Development and Review
The Board of Management of Rathnure N.S. supports the implementation of the RSE programme. We recognise that our school has a supportive role to that of the home and we have a commitment to ensuring that:
- Our teachers have access to in-career development opportunities.
- Relevant teaching materials are provided.
This policy was reviewed and ratified in October 2018 by the BOM, and implemented by teachers. As with all our plans and policies, parents have access to this policy on request. Review will take place again during school year 2021/22 or sooner if necessary.