R.S.E. Policy

Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy Statement St. Joseph’s N.S.


Introductory statement:

Following a public meeting and presentation by facilitator Mary Hough an R.S.E. commitee representing members of the school Board of Management, teachers and parents, was called together. Its purpose was to formulate a school policy for the implementation of RSE in St. Joseph’s N.S. The committee was as follows:

  Name Representing
  Michael Tierney Board of Management
  Deborah Lynch Board of Management
  Séamus Tiernan Teaching staff
  Breege Egan Teaching staff
  Martin Kenny Parents Association
  Mari-Aymone Djeribi Parents Association


St. Joseph’s N.S. is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school which strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed. The introduction of our Relationship and Sexuality Policy will reflect the Catholic ethos of St. Joseph’s N.S..In formulating this policy we have engaged all the partners in  the education process in order to ensure the policy’s successful implementation.


Definition of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).

Relationship and Sexuality Education seeks to provide pupils with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of relationships and human sexuality, through processes which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework.


Relationship of RSE to Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

SPHE incorporating RSE is a Department of Education and Science approved course. All schools are obliged to teach the course throughout the school. In doing so, such schools are obliged to follow the Department of Education guidelines and syllabus while taking into account the ethos of their own school.

S.P.H.E. has been introduced into Aughavas  school and is taught to  each class group. RSE comprises one part of the content of S.P.H.E.. The methodology includes discussion, group work, music, games, artwork, multimedia and written work.  All students are encouraged to obey the ground rules which include co-operation, respect and confidentiality. The approach to topics is developmental and the content will be age appropriate.

SPHE, which is a lifeskills programme has the following aims:

  • 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.

“Alive O” series is used in all classes. This programme covers many of the topics of the SPHE and RSE programmes.



Aims of the RSE Programme of St. Joseph’s N.S.


  1. To promote a healthy attitude and sense of personal responsibility with regard to sexuality and to relationships.
  2. To promote knowledge of and respect for human growth, sexuality and reproduction.
  3. To enable young people to develop healthy attitudes and values towards their sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
  4. To meet in so far as is practicable our obligations under the Education act 1998 to promote the social and personal development of our students and provide health education for them.


Curriculum content.

R.S.E. will be delivered as part of the S.P.H.E. programme with some aspects being re-inforced through the “Alive O” Religious Education programme.

Sensitive issues will be covered within the Strand units: Taking care of my my body and Growing and changing .

Junior and Senior Infants Name body parts (p17 C. S.)
1st and 2nd Name body parts and their functions(p27 C. S.)
3rd and 4th The stages and sequence of development of the baby in the womb. (p44 C. S.)
5th and 6th Puberty, reproduction , conception and birth. (p56 and 58 C. S.)


The content will be taught every second year in accordance with our S.P.H.E. policy using lessons from R.S.E. manuals and other suitable material at the discretion of the class teacher and principal. Content will be modified to take into account the needs of children in a multi class situation and to meet the needs of any pupil with special education requirements.


Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of RSE in St. Joseph’s N.S.

  • Parents are acknowledged as primary educators of their children and school teachers work in a supportive role.
  • Joseph’s N.S., being mindful of the complementary role that it plays in this matter will seek to involve all parents in the formulation of its policy by circularising this document and allowing parents to comment on it before it is ratified by the school Board of Management.
  • All content objectives will be covered by the time children leave sixth class.
  • Teachers will have the right to opt out of teaching the “sensitive issues”.
  • The Principal teacher and class teacher may arrange for a guest speaker to deliver the contents of the programme.
  • All information delivered will be in the presence of the class teacher and within the contents as laid down in the Curriculum.
  • A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil(s) from the process will be honoured on the understanding that the parent is taking full responsibility for this aspect of their education.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school of this decision and to agree on suitable arrangements for the pupil(s) while these issues are being taught.
  • Parents will be informed in advance of when these “sensitive issues” will be taught.
  • The school has no responsibility for any information the child may receive outside the direct teaching of these issues.
  • 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 teacher will respond in a discreet and sensitive manner and will refer the pupil to their parents for further information.


Staff training and development.

All staff have received training in R.S.E. and S.P.H.E.

  • Any future training provided and deemed necessary by the Dept. of Education and Science will be availed of
  • Any future parent education on S.P.H.E.and related issues will be provided in co-operation and consultation with the school’s Parents Association.



Roles & Responsibilities


  • Teachers – responsible for implementation of policy in their classroom and will support its implementation on a whole school basis.


  • Principal has to co-ordinate the implementation of the policy on a whole school basis.


  • The Board of Management has to ratify the policy and assist in its implementation.


  • While it is the responsibility of the B.O.M., Principal and classroom teachers to implement the overall S.P.H.E. curriculum (including R.S.E.), one of the underlying principles is that it is a shared responsibility involving Parents, Health professionals and members of the wider community.


  • Parents will be furnished with a copy of the Policy and should support the teachers and B.O.M. in its implementation.