S.P.H.E. Policy

Social, Personal and Health Education




Social, Personal and Health Education Whole School Plan



Introductory Statement and Rationale


(a)    Introductory Statement

The staff of Inver N.S. formulated this school plan for SPHE, in consulation with our Board of Management, as we believe that SPHE is a shared responsibility and their contributions and involvement will be essential to the effective implementation of the SPHE programme in the school.  It was drafted during an in-school planning day, and brought to the attention of the Board of Management and Parents.


(b)   Rationale

Aspects of SPHE have been taught in Inver N.S. for many years through various programmes and initiatives such as Stay Safe, Walk Tall, Relationships and Sexuality Education and through our involvement in the Health Promoting Schools Initiative.  It has also been taught through integration with other subject areas such as Physical Education, Religion, Geography, etc.  However, we wish to formalise our teaching of SPHE and plan for it on a whole school basis.



Vision and Aims


(a)    Vision:

Inver N.S values the uniqueness of all individuals within a caring school community. We recognise SPHE is intrinsic in the learning and teaching that occurs both formally and informally in the school and in the classroom. Through our SPHE programme, 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 programme encourages children to be aware of their rights as individuals while at the same time accepting responsibilty for their actions as members of the school and wider 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.

(b)   Aims:

The children of Inver NS should be enabled to achieve the aims outlined in the SPHE curriculum, which include:

  • 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  





Content of Plan




1               Strands and Strand Units:

The curriculum is delineated at four levels—infant classes, first and second classes, third and fourth classes, and fifth and sixth classes—and is divided into three strands: Myself, Myself and others, and Myself and the wider world.


Each of these strands is further subdivided into a number of strand units or topic areas that contain particular objectives.


Inver NS will teach aspects of all three major strand units each year and strand units will be chosen in such a way that the child will receive a comprehensive programme in SPHE over a two year period.  Inver NS have created this timetable to reflect this approach:













Year 1   Year Two
Strand Strand Unit   Strand Strand Unit
Myself Self Identity   Myself and Others Myself and my Family
Myself and Others My Friends and other people   Myself and Others   Relating to others
Myself Safety and Protection


  Myself Growing and Changing
Myself Safety and Protection (Inf – 2nd)

·         Making Decisions (3rd to 6th)

  Myself Taking Care of my Body
Myself and the wider world Media education

 (Myself and the wider world)


  Myself and the wider world Developing citizenship



2               Contexts for SPHE:

SPHE will be taught in Inver N.S. through a combination of the following contexts:


1.       Positive School Climate and Atmosphere

Inver NS has created a positive atmosphere by:

* building effective communication

  •  catering for individual needs
  • creating a health-promoting physical environment
  • developing democratic processes
  • enhancing self-esteem
  • fostering respect for diversity
  • fostering inclusive and respectful language
  • developing appropriate communication
  • developing a school approach to assessment


2.       Discrete time for SPHE

SPHE is allocated ½ hour per week on each teacher’s timetable in Inver NS.  However teachers may allocate 1 hour per fortnight  to allow for more indepth exploration of a strand unit.


3.       Integration with other subject areas and Linkage within SPHE

Teachers will endeavour to adopt an thematic approach to SPHE by integrating it with other subject areas such as Language, Geography, History, Religion, Visual Arts, Physical Education, etc.  Themes/Projects such as Healthy Eating Week, Friendship Week, Agri-Awareness, Healthy Heart Week, Lenten Campaign, etc. will also be explored.



3               Approaches and Methodologies:

Inver NS believe that the approaches and methodologies used in SPHE are crucial to the effectiveness of the programme. Active learning is the principal learning and teaching approach recommended for SPHE, therefore we will endeavour to teach SPHE using a variety of strategies which include:

  •  drama activities
  • co-operative games
  • use of pictures
  • photographs and visual images
  • written activities
  • use of media
  • information technologies and looking at children’s work

4               Assessment:

Assessment is a central part of the everyday learning and teaching process in SPHE. It can provide valuable information on the child’s progress and on the effectiveness and suitability of the programme and the teaching methods being used.

Inver NS uses the following recommended informal tools for assessment in SPHE:

  • Teacher observation
  • Teacher-designed tasks and tests
  • Portfolios and projects


Each child will keep an SPHE Scrapbook and this will be used to assess a child’s progress in SPHE.  Each year the child will be given a teacher-designed task or test related to the strand units taught, and the scrapbook will be sent home at the end of each school year.

5               Children with Different Needs:

Teachers will endeavour to adapt and modify activities and methodologies in SPHE to encourage participation by children with special needs.  The  support  teacher will supplement the work of the class teachers where necessary.  Inver NS will liase with trained professionals/appropriate agencies when dealing with sensitive issues such as bereavement or loss to ensure that the children involved are fully supported.


6               Equality of Participation and Access:

Inver NS recognises and values diversity, and believes all children are entitled to access the services, facilities, or amenities that are available in the school environment.  Ours is a mixed school and we endeavour to challenge traditional stereotypes and ensure that equal opportunities are given to boys and girls to participate in discussion, debate, presentation, etc.





7               Policies and Programmes that support SPHE:


  • Child Protection
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Relationships and Sexuality Education
  • Substance Use
  • Code of Behaviour
  • Enrolment
  • Health and Safety
  • Healthy Eating
  • Internet Acceptable Usage



  • Active School Flag
  • Stay Safe
  • Walk Tall
  • Incredible Years




8               Homework:

SPHE homework, if prescribed in SPHE, will reflect the active learning approach and will reinforce information already taught during class.



9               Resources:


9.1         Programmes and Other Materials:


Books for Pupil Books for Teacher Audio / Visual Posters Media & ICT







RSE Manuals

Walk Tall

Stay Safe

Making the Links

Various posters throughout the school Various clips depending on topic


Guest Speakers:

When a guest speaker addresses the children in SPHE, the class teacher will remain in the classroom (as per Circular 22/2010) and make the speaker aware of this school plan and attached policies.


11           Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting:

This plan in SPHE and the curriculum documents will inform and guide teachers in their long and short term planning in SPHE.  Each teacher will keep a Cuntas Míosúil and this will inform our progress and needs when evaluating and reviewing our progress in SPHE.


12           Staff Development:

Training opportunities will include the following areas and this training will support an effective implementation of the SPHE programme:

§  training in the Child Abuse Prevention Programme/ Stay Safe

§  training in the Substance Misuse programme /Walk Tall

§  training in the Relationships and Sexuality Education programme /R.S.E.

§  Child Protection Seminars


Teachers are encouraged to attend SPHE related courses and will share information/skills acquired at these courses with other members of staff during staff meetings.


13           Parental Involvement:

Parental involvement is considered an integral part to effectively implementing SPHE as Inver NS believe that SPHE is a shared responsibilty.  This plan and the curriculum documents are available for parents to inform them of the programme for SPHE, and they are welcomed as committee members on the Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy and Substance Use Policy. They are also welcomed as committee members of the Health Promoting Schools initiative.


14           Community Links:

Inver NS believe that the local community has a very important role to play in supporting the programme in SPHE and endeavour to liase with the members such as the Dental Hygienist, Health Nurse, Fireman, Vet, New Parent, etc.



Success Criteria

The success of this plan will be evaluated through teacher’s planning and preparation, and if the procedures outlined in this plan have been consistently followed.  We will also judge its success if the children have been enabled to achieve the aims outlined in this plan.


n Implementation


(a)   Roles and Responsibilities:

Inver NS believes that the school community must be involved to successfully implement SPHE.  Therefore the teaching staff will implement this plan with the support of the Board of Management, Parents and the Local Community.


(b)   Timeframe:

The plan will be implemented from 2019






(a)   Roles and Responsibilities:

It will be necessary to review this plan on a regular basis to ensure optimum implementation of the SPHE curriculum in the school.  _D Cosgrove_____ is responsible for coordinating this review.

Those involved in the review will include:





(b)   Timeframe:

This plan will be reviewed in 2021











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