Our school is a 2 teacher school with 2 part time support teachers. We have 1 full time SNA on our staff.
Introductory Statement & Rationale
This policy statement is an approved approach to the teaching of relationships and sexuality Education (RSE) in Inver N.S.. It was developed to inform teachers and parents as to what material is covered in the RSE programme within Social Personal & Health Education (SPHE).
Inver N.S.is a Catholic school and therefore all policies developed are implemented in ways which are in keeping with the ethos of the school, which is founded on Christian principles where tolerance and respect for others is paramount. 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 live happy and fulfilled lives
Definition of RSE
RSE aims to provide opportunities for children and young people 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. RSE aims to help children learn, at home and in school, about their own development and about their friendships and relationships with others. This work will be based on developing a good self-image, promoting respect for themselves and others and providing them with appropriate information.
Relationship of RSE to SPHE
RSE will be taught in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education. SPHE is a subject in the primary school curriculum. SPHE contributes to developing the work of the school in promoting the health and well-being of children and young people. This happens in the context of their emotional, moral, social and spiritual growth, as well as their intellectual, physical, political, religious and creative development. SPHE is taught from Junior Infants to sixth class and an adapted SPHE programme is taught in the special class. Lessons throughout the school are formally timetabled.
Provision for RSE
RSE will be facilitated in the following ways within our school:
• In the context of a positive school climate and atmosphere
• As part of timetabled S.P.H.E.
• On an integrated, cross-curricular basis
The RSE Curriculum is a spiral curriculum. This involves revisiting key topics in a developmental manner at regular intervals. As it is a progressive programme, it is taught annually over the 8-year primary cycle.
Included in the school curriculum in is:
SPHE : Strand Units
Myself – Self identity, taking care of my body, growing and changing, safety and protection.
Myself and Others – Myself and family, friends and relating to other people.
Taking Care of My Body – Naming parts of the male and female body using
appropriate terminology (Junior and Lower Middle classes). Identifying physical changes,
Understanding puberty and the Reproductive System (Senior Classes)
Growing and Changing – The stages of development of a baby from conception to birth (Middle Classes).
Understanding sexual relations within the context of a committed loving relationship (Senior Classes).
Teachers do not cover topics such as contraception and same sex relationships. Children
who ask questions in class on content outside the curriculum are talked to individually
and discreetly. Parents are usually informed and asked to talk to their child. Only subject
matter specified by NCCA guidelines for a particular level will be covered at that level.
Circle time is used to build confidence and address fears.
Boys and girls are taught together in all classes. Senior pupils are treated in a mature way and are encouraged to discuss issues that arise with their parents.
The Stay Safe & Walk Tall Programmes:
The Stay Safe programme is taught in all classes every year.
Walk tall programme is taught from 2nd class to 6th class
The visiting tutor delivers the Busy Bodies programme to the 5th and 6th classes every second year where issues such as physical and emotional development and bodily changes are explored. Parents/guardians are informed when this will take place. This provides them with an opportunity to ask questions or clarify matters of interest/concern. This may also help to provide an opportunity for the parents/guardians to begin to discuss this important area of a child’s development with their own children.
Topics covered from 3rd to 6th Classes include:-
Healthy eating, personal hygiene, exercise.
Making healthy and responsible decisions.
Reproduction, conception (5th and 6th Classes)
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 and 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
• 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
Management and Organisation of RSE in our School Parental Involvement:
Relationships and Sexuality Education is an on-going process throughout life. Parents and the family are acknowledged as the primary educators of their children. We work in a supportive role with the parents of our school, by complementing their role with a school based programme in R.S.E. At the beginning of each school year, parents will be provided with an outline of the themes to be covered in SPHE in that particular year. Parents with particular concerns should then discuss these with the principal or class teacher. The curriculum books and resource materials are available in the school and parents are welcome to borrow them if desired.
Withdrawal from RSE
Since RSE is an obligatory requirement of the Department of Education and Science, it should be inclusive. Inver N.S. actively promotes the implementation of RSE and strongly discourages withdrawal. The school will, however, take account of parental concerns and a parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from themes pertaining to sensitive issues will be honoured on the understanding that the parent(s) is taking full responsibility for this aspect of education themselves. Parents are obliged to inform the school in writing of their decision to withdraw the child from the sensitive issues classes. Any parent who wishes to withdraw their child should make arrangements for the supervision of the child while the RSE class is in progress. The school can take no responsibility for any information which the pupil may receive outside the direct teaching of the RSE lesson.
All the content objectives of the RSE Programme will be covered by the time children leave sixth class. It is school policy that the content objectives are covered with each class level as outlined in the SPHE curriculum statement, within the context of the school’s Catholic ethos and without personal slants from the class teacher. One half hour period per week from 2nd -6th and 40mins. for infants to 1st class is timetabled for SPHE and RSE will be included in the programme taught during this time. The approach to the teaching of RSE will be kept as normal as possible and will usually be delivered within the child’s class by the class teacher. Teachers will be encouraged and supported to teach the sensitive issues to their own class.
In teaching issues related to RSE, teachers will use the correct biological terms for parts of the body.
Questions arising from curriculum content will be addressed by the teacher in a sensible, sensitive and age-appropriate manner. The class teacher cannot answer questions which do not relate to the particular curriculum objectives for a class. Pupils will be informed that that question/issue is not on the programme and they will be referred back to the parent(s). Teachers may exercise discretion to contact parents themselves if they feel that a question is very appropriate.
Confidentiality and Child Protection:
Where there is disclosure by a child of abuse, the school will follow the Department of Education and Science child protection guidelines and guidelines as set out in ‘Children First’.
Pupils will be encouraged to appreciate the value of a stable family life and the importance of marriage as the ideal context for rearing children. We acknowledge the different family units that are represented in school and will endeavour to treat all situations sensitively
Ongoing support, development and review
The Board of Management of Inver N.S. supports and fosters the development of a R.S.E school policy. The programme of work will be reviewed at regular intervals by teachers. Inver N.S. will ensure access to in-career development opportunities for teachers and the policy committee in R.S.E. The policy and programme will be reviewed by the policy committee. every four years thereafter. Any amendments necessary as a result of reviews will be undertaken. Parents and staff will be informed of any amendments made by the RSE Policy Committee.