S.P.H.E. Policy

S.P.H.E. Policy


Vision statement

We wish to incorporate into the childrens’ education in a meaningful and structured way the lifeskills necessary to lead  balanced and healthy lives and to contribute in a positive way to daily life both at home and in the wider community

  • Introductory Statement


This document was commenced on Cluster Planning Day in Carrick-On-Shannon on February 3rd 2003 and was put together by the school staff; Séamus Tiernan, Martina Williams, Breege Egan, and Ceri Jones.It was reviewed in June 2005, September 2007 and May 2009.

  • Rationale


In order to put in place an effective and meaningful S.P.H.E. programme to provide children with the life skills necessary to become active and responsible citizens in society.


  • Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School


It will contribute to our ethos by helping children to acquire a range of communication skills and to understand the ways in which they can show respect, care and consideration in their dealings with others


  • Aims

In drawing up this plan we intend to have a co-ordinated and developmental approach to S.P.H.E. within our school.

We endorse 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


  • Broad Objectives of S.P.H.E.


We endorse the Broad Objectives on P.10  S.P.H.E. Curriculum Book. 

Taking due account of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances of children.



§  Content

  • Creating a positive school climate and atmosphere.


1.      Effective communication systems


  1. In School


The following procedures are in place to promote positive staff communication.

  1. Noticeboard giving details of times and dates for planned events, initiatives, relevant Dept circulars, Inservice training, Courses etc.
  2. Planning days in accordance with D.E.S. guidelines.
  • Impromptu and informal meetings regarding initiatives etc. occur as the need arises, at breaktimes and before and after school.
  1. Meal for school staff on special occasions.


Children contribute to school policy and initatives in the following ways.

  1. Feed back from circletime, classroom discussions, brainstorming for ideas etc.
  2. Green school committee members elected by children themselves.
  • Organising and compering at school concerts.
  1. Videoing and providing commentary for special events.
  2. Positive response by teachers to the “ Can we………?” questions where possible.
  3. Discussion on need for rules and the importance of rules in our Code of Behaviour and Discipline.
  • School policy on bullying explained to children and the importance of reporting incidences of bullying.
  • Consultation with children regarding school tour venues, medal presentations, special events, charity fundraising initiatives etc.
  1. I.C.T. used to produce a variety of presentations, thank-you cards, banners, posters, notices, digital camera photographs of school events etc.


  1. Parents


There is an effective communications system present with parents in this school through the following procedures.

  1. Formal parent teacher meetings arranged once per year.
  2. Informal parent teacher meetings arranged as the need arises on request of parent/teacher.
  • Typed letters to communicate Closures, Policy changes.
  1. Parents submissions sought for Code of Behaviour and Discipline and any other relevant Policy Documents. discussed on Parent teacher meeting day.
  2. Relevant Policy Documents circulated to every parent.
  3. Complaints procedure outlined in Code of Behaviour and Discipline.
  • Parents representatives on school B.O.M. are a channel for parents to voice opinions thus affecting school policy and they also communicate information from agreed report on B.O.M. meetings to Parents’ Committee.
  • Information from Parents committee meetings communicated to School Staff / B.O.M. by Parents’ representatives on B.O.M.



  1. Catering to the individual needs of children


Teaching in our school will cater to the individual and different needs of all school pupils by employing the following strategies.


  1. Tasks set at an appropriate level for each class/ group/individual
  2. Co-operative learning strategies employed involving group work and team work..
  • Non competitive games.
  1. Children encouraged to accept and respect difference through R.E. and S.P.H.E. programme and other relevant programmes.
  2. Particular effort made to praise the achievements of children attending Resource/Learning Support in the areas of the curriculum or of intelligence in which they excel. I.E.P’s will be written and reviewed each term for children attending resource teaching/learning support and targets set.
  3. Cognisance taken of the fact that some children will not achieve the same standard as others.
  • Comparisons between children to highlight inadequate work due to lack of ability will not be made.
  • Consultation with N.E.P.S. psychologists and any other professional agencies as deemed necessary.



  1. Creating a health promoting physical environment.


  1. School provides basic needs, heat, light, ventilation, toilet/hygiene facilities adequate.
  2. Facilities for eating and playing are good
  • Classrooms are neat and pleasantly decorated.
  1. Playground is safe and secure and danger areas from Safety consultants report have been dealt with.
  2. Fencing has been recently provided.
  3. Green Schools Policy helps to promote a positive attitude to the school and the wider environment.
  • School cleaner -work being done very well.
  • Healthy lunch policy.


Areas of concern:

  1. Wet field needing drainage work
  2. Door to Resource room needs window
  3. Hot water supply.
  4. Untidy areas under diesel tank and along new tarmac.


  1. Developing democratic processes.


  1. Children and parents are involved in drawing up school rules.
  2. Circle time and class discussion on rules and children summarise main rules to be displayed on posters in classrooms.
  • Consequences of not having rules or not obeying rules are discussed.
  1. Sanctions imposed for breaking rules are made clear and enforced fairly and consistently.
  2. Childrens’ attention is drawn to the harmfulness of their actions and are also made aware that it is the behaviour that is rejected and not the offending child.
  3. Communication betweeen Parents and Teachers will be ongoing throughout the year.




  • Submissions are sought regarding rules and consultation takes place prior to new initiatives being implemented.
  • Children assemble together on many occasions during the school year and these occasions are used to enhance a sense of community and to affirm positive aspects of behaviour.These occasions are:
    1. School concerts .
    2. School mass/ Sacraments/ Attending funerals.
    3. Medal/Awards presentations, e.g. Green School Flag, Cumann na mbunscoil, E.S.B. awards.
    4. Plays etc. by visiting artists e.g. Clan Cluana.
    5. Visitors to our school e.g. local missionary priests, president C.L.C.G. authors, crafts people, heritage personnel etc.
    6. Television viewing of Special events.


  1. Enhancing the Self Esteem of the Whole School Community.

We will enhance each child’s self esteem and confidence in the following ways:

  1. Rewards will be given for work done well.
  2. A strong emphasis will be placed on rewarding children’s efforts so that the less academically able  will also be rewarded.
  • Through curricular work particularly in Visual Arts, R.E., P.E. English creative writing.
  1. Fun games will be incorporated that do not have a competitive element.
  2. Children will be encouraged to see and praise the work/achievements of their Peers.
  3. Childrens’ achievements will not be used to highlight the inadequacies of others.
  • Team work in classes with children grouped to ensure each group has similar ability.
  • Group work with children grouped by ability when working on difficult concepts.
  1. Whole school and classroom rewards for collective efforts e.g. Picnic,Concert in Cornmill theatre, extra games time etc


 Enhancing staff self esteem:


There will be a democratic process of decision making in the school.

  1. Recognition will be given to innovative ideas which may be adapted throughout the school
  2. Encouragement will be given to embark on new initiatives.
  • Resources will be made available for all new initiatives.
  1. Staff will work as a team in all curricular/extra curricular areas and individual strengths and interests will be availed of.
  2. School rules will be enforced by all staff members in a uniform way.
  3. Existing staff will help new staff members through:
    1. Advice and information.
    2. Sharing of notes, resources and ideas as well as help in planning and devising strategies for pupil teaching.
    3. Ongoing support especially when problems arise.
    4. Affirming the work of members of the staff and providing whole-school in-career development.
    5. Celebrating achievement


  1. Fostering respect for diversity
  1. Groups are regularly changed and do not always consist of the same children.
  2. Teams are not always chosen by individual children.
  • Books used are bias-free and gender equity is promoted at all levels.
  1. The strengths of individual children are fostered.
  2. Children are encouraged to listen to different points of view.
  3. Exploring various traditions and practices of other cultures so that children can develop a sense of respect for difference and appreciate the contribution that such difference has to offer.


7.Looking at Language


School Policies will ensure that language is used in a positive and affirming way and not to belittle, intimidate or insult others.



8.Assessment in S.P.H.E.

  • Modify curriculum content according to the needs of the child and so maximise the learning potential of each individual.
  • Adapt learning and teaching strategies used in the classroom to ensure that they are appropriate to the objectives of the curriculum and the ways in which children learn.
  • Assess the effectiveness of learning through the school climate and atmosphere, in the discrete time and throughout other subjects.
  • Discover what the child knows, understands and can do.
  • Promote self-assessment in the child, where he/she learns the value of monitoring his/her own progress and develops some responsibility for his/her own learning. The child is helped to set realistic goals and targets and to become aware of his/her own strengths and difficulties.
  • Explore how the child transfers learning from one situation to another.
  • Communicate with the child, parents and others regarding the child’s abilities, strengths and overall progress in SPHE.


Assessment will include teacher-child discussion about progress, difficulties and strengths.




  • Organisational Planning of S.P.H.E



  1. Exploring the nature and essence of S.P.H.E.



  1. Drawing up a whole-school approach



  1. Roles and Responsibilities




The Role of the Board of Management

It is the responsibility of the Board of Management to support and facilitate the school approach to SPHE as it is being developed and to approve and review this approach within the context of the overall school plan.



The Role of Parents

Since parents have the primary role in the social, personal and health education of their children, the school should provide them with opportunities to contribute to the development and implementation of SPHE in the school. Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Participating in school planning and review
  • Supporting teachers in implementing particular aspects of the programme
  • Discussing the learning that has taken place in school with their children
  • Reviewing resources for specific aspects of the programme



The Role of the Principal

The principal has a central role in ensuring that the SPHE curriculum is effectively implemented in the school in accordance with the school plan. He will need to encourage and enable staff to adopt and apply some of the new strategies and take a different perspective on what is happening in the class. In many instances the principal will be the liaison person between the Board of Management and the Staff, and between members of the community and the Staff.



The Role of the Teacher

Children are more likely to gain from a curriculum where there is consistency in the approach taken by all teachers in the school. Some teachers may have developed skills in the use of various approaches in SPHE or may have had previous experience of using materials in this area, while others may have a keen interest in health issues. Sharing this expertise and encouraging each other will be significant elements in the implementation of a comprehensive SPHE programme.




The Role of ancillary and support staff

The wider school community will have an important role to play in supporting the social, personal and health development of the children. In their interactions with both teachers and children they can reflect the principles promoted by the SPHE programme. It will be important that they are involved in the consultation process and are aware of the various policies that exist in the school.

  • S.P.H.E. in the Curriculum


Strand Units to be covered

Year 1                                                                           Year 2

Self Identity Growing and changing
Taking care of my body Safety and Protection
Myself and my family Making decisions
My friends and other people Relating to Others
Developing citizenship Media Education


  • Methodologies

The following strategies for active learning:-

  • Drama activities
  • Co-operative games
  • Pictures, photographs and visual images
  • Discussion
  • Written activities
  • The media and information and communication technologies
  • Looking at children’s work


  1. Resources

See Appendix.


  1. Non-school personnel

Visiting Tutors: R.S.E.

Social Workers, School Nurse/Doctor/Dentist/Psychologist

Ltm Co.Co. Environmental Officer, An Taisce Personnel, Ornithologists, Clergy and Religious, Gardaí.