Relationship and Sexuality Education Policy

Rationale

Baltydaniel N.S. has a positive school climate and warm atmosphere. This enables pupils to have a sense of belonging to a group they can trust and in which their thoughts and feelings are valued.

The main purpose of this school is the holistic development of its pupils to their full potential, spiritually, educationally, morally and physically. We would endeavour to help them to develop good social skills with respect for themselves, their peers, parents, teachers and the wider community. As a school with a Catholic ethos, R.S.E. will seek to communicate the Christian view of human life and human relationships. It is within this context that our R.S.E. programme will be delivered in partnership with teachers, parents and members of B.O.M.

Definition of RSE

R.S.E. is the process, which enables pupils through structured opportunities to acquire and develop the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs and practical skills necessary to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships as children and subsequently as adults.

RSE in the context of SPHE

R.S.E. will be taught in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.) which is a core subject of the revised curriculum, seeking to promote the health and well being of our pupils. SPHE provides opportunities for pupils to learn basic personal and social skills which foster integrity, self-confidence and self-esteem while nurturing sensitivity to the feelings and rights of others. Their education begins in the home and their primary responsibility lies with each parent/guardian. The school sees its role as supporting this process.

Aims of the RSE Programme

  • To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of each child.
  • To help children develop healthy friendships and relationships.
  • To foster an understanding of, and a healthy attitude to, human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
  • To enable the older child to acquire and 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.

Broad Objectives of the RSE Programme

The R.S.E. programme should enable the child:

  • To acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of self.
  • To develop a positive sense of self-awareness, self-esteem and self-worth.
  • To develop an appreciation of the dignity, uniqueness and well-being of others.
  • To understand the nature, growth and development of relationships within families, in friendships and in wider contexts.
  • To develop an awareness of differing family patterns.
  • To come to value family life and appreciate the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • To develop strategies to make decisions, solve problems and implement actions in various personal, social and health contexts.
  • To become aware of the variety of ways in which individuals grow and change, and to understand that their developing sexuality is an important aspect of self-identity.
  • To develop personal skills which will help them to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships.
  • To develop some coping strategies to protect themselves and others from various forms of abuse.
  • To acquire and improve skills of communication and social interaction.
  • To acquire and use an appropriate vocabulary to discuss feelings, sexuality, growth and development.
  • To develop in the child a critical understanding of external influences on lifestyles and decision making.

Overview of Content

Strand Infant Classes 1st and 2nd Classes
Strand Units Strand Units
Myself

I am unique

My Body

As I grow I change

New Life

Feeling Safe

Feelings and emotions

Making decisions

I am unique

My Body

As I grow I change

New Life

Feeling Safe

Feelings and emotions

Making decisions

Myself and others

Myself and my family

Myself and my friends

Special people in my life

Relating to others

Myself and my family

Myself and my friends

Other people

Relating to others

 

Strand 3rd and 4th Classes 5th and 6th Classes
Strand Units Strand Units
Myself

Accepting myself

Physical development

Growing and changing

Birth and new life

Feelings and emotions

Personal Hygiene

Personal Safety

Making decision

Accepting myself

Physical development

Becoming an adult

Parenthood

Feelings and emotions

Personal Hygiene

Personal Safety

Making decision

Myself and others

Roles and responsibilities in families

Portrayal of sexuality and relationships

Roles of males and females in society

Relating to others

Changing relationships in families and friendships

Group affiliation and loyalty

Portrayal of sexuality and relationships

Sexual stereotypes

Relating to others

 

Month Year 1 (Sept. 2017) Year 2 (Sept. 2018)
Sept/Oct

Strand: Myself

Strand Unit: Self-Identity

(Friendship Week in Sept., Cyber Bullying Speaker in Oct.)

Strand: Myself and Others

Strand Unit: Relating to Others

(Friendship Week in Sept., Cyber Bullying Speaker in Oct.)

Nov/Dec

Strand: Myself and Others

Stand Unit: Myself and My Family

Strand: Myself and the Wider World

Strand Unit: Media Education

Jan/Feb

Strand: Myself

Stand Unit: Taking Care of my Body (RSE)

Cyber Bullying Speaker for Internet Safety Day 7th Feb.

Topic for Stay Safe to reteach: Bullying, Secrets, Strangers

Strand: Myself

Strand Unit: Safety and Protection STAY SAFE (full programme)

Cyber Bullying Speaker for Internet Safety Day 7th Feb.

March/April

Strand: Myself

Stand Unit: Growing and Changing (RSE)

Visit from nurse for 5th and 6th Class

Strand: Myself

Strand Unit:

3rd-6th  :Making Decisions

J.I. – 2nd: Safety and Protection – Safety Issues

Visit from nurse for 5th and 6th class

May/June

Strand: Myself and the Wider World

Stand Unit: Developing Citizenship

Strand: Myself and Others

Strand Unit: My Friends and Other People

 

Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of R.S.E. in our School

We recognise that parents are the primary educators of their children, and that the home is the natural environment in which RSE should take place. The role of the school, therefore, is seen as one of support for the work of the home in this area.

The approach in school is child-centred and will always take the age and stage of development of the children into account. Appropriate vocabulary relating to sexuality, growing up, physical changes, parts of the body and feelings will be used. The use of slang words will be discouraged.

Questions arising from lessons content will be answered in an 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 if a question/issue is not on the programme and they will be advised to talk with their parents. Teachers may exercise discretion to contact parents themselves if they feel that a question is very inappropriate.

It is our policy not to answer personal questions and to discourage disclosure of personal or family information.

Our RSE programme is inclusive and so we actively discourage withdrawal. Should a parent seek to have their child withdrawn from the RSE lessons, the school will take account of parental concerns, and parents’ right to withdraw their child from themes pertaining to sensitive issues will be honoured on the understanding that the parents are taking full responsibilities for this aspect of education themselves. Parents will be given the Busy Body booklet for senior classes and a letter explaining the content and language of the SPHE lessons that cover the sensitive topics. The parents will also be given a consent form which should be returned to the class teacher. The sensitive topics will be covered during the months of January, February and March.

We invite a nurse from the HSE to speak with 5th class girls and all pupils in 6th class for a 1 and half hour session in the second term. The boys and girls in 6th will have the talk together as one group and will separate for Q&A after. The girls from 5th will be spoken to separately. The girls will be informed that an emergency supply of sanitary towels will be kept in the 6th class teacher’s classroom and the girls can approach the teacher if they need some.

A letter is given to parents at the P/T meetings in November to inform them that the Stay Safe and RSE programmes will be taught during the months of January, February and part of March and they are given a link to access to find out more about the content if they wish. A text will be given in January to remind parents that this will be thought in the classes in the coming weeks.

Links to other policy areas

  • Child Protection Policy
  • SPHE Plan

Confidentiality

Where there is disclosure by a child of abuse, or a teacher has any concerns about a child, the school authorities will follow our Child Protection Policy. The Principal is our Designated Liaison Person and Mrs. Murphy the VP is the deputy DLP.

Training                                                                                                                                                 The school will facilitate teachers to obtain expert training in this field, bearing in mind the overall budgetary framework and the need for the ongoing teaching and learning programme of the school to continue with as little disturbance as possible. Anna Wickham and Jane Mills have attended RSE training in the Cork Ed. Centre in January 2017 and have informed the school of any updates.

Resources                                                                                                                                                  The school will purchase appropriate RSE teaching materials which have been identified by staff as useful and which have been approved by the Principal, within the normal budgetary framework and as general school resources allow.

Monitoring and Evaluating

We are committed to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of this programme. This will be based on pupil, parent and staff feedback and staff review.

Implementation and Review

This policy was reviewed in April 2019. It was ratified by the Board and is presently being implemented by all teachers. It will be reviewed informally at staff meetings and a formal review is due to take place in April 2021 or earlier if necessary. As with other school policies, parents and the wider school community can access them on our school website.