Scoil Bhríde Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Polic

Introductory Statement

This policy applies to the teaching of Relationships and Sexuality in Scoil Bhríde. The school should be seeking to communicate the Christian vision of human life and human relationships.

This would include such fundamental ideas as the following:

  • The human body is sacred- the visible image of God.
  • The human body shows us that we are mortal and limited – dependent on God who gives and sustains our life.
  • Through our bodily nature we relate to other people in a physical world which we share. From this it follows that we are called to respect one another and to recognise in one another, ’bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh’ (Gen 2:23).
  • The human body, since it is sexual, expresses the call of men and women in reciprocal love which is a mutual gift of self.


Scoil Bhríde is committed to the Education of children, regardless of race, religion or status. Relationships and Sexuality are integral parts of the human personality and impact biologically, psychologically, culturally, socially and spiritually. RSE is a lifelong process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills, and the development of attitudes, beliefs, morals and values. While we believe that the primary responsibility for addressing these issues rests with the parents, we acknowledge the vital role the school can play in supporting and complimenting this. The Vatican document, ‘The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality’ stresses the primacy of the role of parent in the education of their children. This is also acknowledged in the opening words of the Department of Education’s booklet, Relationships and Sexuality Education, Going Forward Together, an Introduction to Relationships and Sexuality Education for Parents (1997):  ‘As a parent you are the first teacher of your child. You hand on values and attitudes to each new generation of children. Your child’s school aims to work together with you in this important job.’ In order to be faithful to the vision and ethos of a Catholic school, it is important that a Catholic School such as Scoil Bhríde should reflect Catholic moral teaching in RSE. The dignity, privacy and modesty of each individual child must always be respected. One must therefore be aware of a number of points. Children come from widely varying home backgrounds and have had very differing experiences. Teachers are well aware of the delicacy that is needed in dealing sensitively with issues that may be difficult for particular children.

Definition of Relationship and Sexuality Education:

RSE seeks to provide children with opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of relationships and human sexuality, through processes which enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a   moral, social and spiritual 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 positive self image, promoting respect for self and others and providing pupils with appropriate information.

RSE will be facilitated in the following ways in Scoil Bhríde;

  • In the context of a positive school climate and atmosphere.
  • As part of timetabled S.P.H.E. which is taught from Junior Infants to 6th class.

The RSE programme is a spiral curriculum. This involves revisiting key topics in a developmental manner at regular intervals.


The aims of my social, personal and health education programme are:

  • 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

When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances, the SPHE curriculum should enable the child to

  • be self-confident and have a positive sense of self-esteem
  • develop a sense of personal responsibility and come to understand his/her sexuality and the processes of growth, development and reproduction
  • develop and enhance the social skills of communication, co-operation and conflict resolution
  • create and maintain supportive relationships both now and in the future
  • develop an understanding of healthy living, an ability to implement healthy behaviour and a willingness to participate in activities that promote and sustain health
  • develop a sense of safety and an ability to protect himself/herself from danger and abuse
  • make decisions, solve problems and take appropriate actions in various personal, social and health contexts
  • become aware of, and discerning about, the various influences on choices and decisions
  • respect the environment and develop a sense of responsibility for its long-term care
  • develop some of the skills and abilities necessary for participating fully in groups and in society
  • become aware of some of the individual and community rights and responsibilities
  • begin to understand the concepts of personal, local, national,
  • appreciate and respect the diversity that exists in society and the positive contributions of various cultural, religious and social groups
  • Content

Sensitive Areas of the RSE Programme

***All sensitive vocabulary i.e.  names of body parts etc., will be introduced in 5th Class and not taught in the class they appear in the programme until we review our RSE Policy as a whole school.

Junior Infants

The theme of new- life is dealt with, which relates to nature and family e.g.. New life in Spring , pets and family. (RSE teaching materials p.68-76)

Vocabulary introduced: born and womb

Senior Infants

Taking care of my body – covers personal hygiene and self awareness (RSE teaching materials p.148—156 excluding sensitive material i.e. penis, vulva/vagina , breasts) “private parts” used until proper names introduced in 5th Class.

1st Class:

The themes covered in 1st Class include new life and how my body works. (vocabulary not taught here – urine & urethra & what happened when baby was born are introduced in 5th class)

2nd Class

Themes explored include ”The Wonder of New life”  (vocabulary : vagina & anus, umbilical cord navel and pregnancy are not taught in this class but taught in 5th Class – taught in 5th Class)

3rd & 4th Class

Theme 8

The Wonder of New Life & As I grow I change – Growing and Changing are not taught until 5th Class.

5th & 6th Class

The themes “My Body Grows and Changes” and “The Wonder of New Life” are taught in 5th & 6th Class. Parents of pupils in 5th & 6th Class are invited to the school to preview the Veritas Video “Girls growing up” presented by Angela McNamara. If parent(s)/guardian(s) then give written permission for their daughter to watch this video and to study this content, their daughter will be included in this part of the RSE programme. If parent(s)/guardian(s) decide(s) to withdraw their child from the sensitive issues in the RSE programme, alternative arrangements will be made to accommodate these children.

The changes in a girl’s body is taught in Fifth Class. This work is reinforced in 6th Class along with the changes in a boy’s body and Reproduction.

Approaches and Methodologies

1. Active Learning

2. Group work

3. Drama activities

4. Discussion

  • open-ended statements
  • brainstorming
  • agree or disagree
  • creating pictures and posters
  • interviews
  • stories
  • poems
  • exploring a piece of music.

5. Pictures, photographs and visual images

  • question the content of an image
  • explore different points of view
  • compare their own experience with reality
  • explore attitudes and understanding of certain concepts
  • examine stereotyping and the similarities and differences between people.
  • reading a photograph
  • using pictures as a stimulus for discussion or in determining previously acquired knowledge about an issue
  • ranking pictures
  • using captions
  • creating speech/thought bubbles
  • classifying and setting
  • exploring a television advertisement

6. Co-operative games

7. Written activities

8. The media and information and communication technologies

  • access and retrieve information
  • explore some techniques used in the media and the various technologies for communication available to them
  • learn to make decisions and become more discerning in their use of the technology and the media
  • develop self-confidence in using a wide range of technology enhance their relationship skills as they discover new ways of communicating and explore and learn together.


1. Teacher observation

  • the ability of the child to co-operate and work in groups or to work independently
  • the informal interactions between the child and adults and between the child and other children
  • the quality of presentation of work
  • particular interests or aptitudes displayed by the child
  • the participation and interest of the child in a variety of activities
  • the level of personal or social responsibility exhibited by the child
  • the reliability of the child in carrying out established routines
  • the perseverance of the child in carrying out a task
  • the child’s awareness of the difficulties of others and his/her willingness to help
  • the questions the child asks and the responses the child makes to questions and suggestions made by the teacher
  • various behaviour, for example shyness, leadership ability, level of self-confidence, the tendency to be anxious, sense of fair play, assertiveness, aggression, readiness to take risks and meet challenges
  • physical and emotional maturity
  • the ability of the child to engage in assessing his/her progress and reflecting on his/her learning.
  • behaviour in contexts such as yard, school outings re:  co-operative spirit and self-esteem

2. Teacher-designed tasks and tests

3. Portfolios and projects


1. Resource Materials for Relationships & Sexuality Education

2. Veritas Video “Sex Education for Girls”

3. It is suggested at school that pupils seek further clarification at home or at achool so that they don’t have unanswered questions

Special Educational Needs Pupils

  • In the case of pupils with special needs Learning Support/Resource Teachers will provide extra support/ clarification.
  • EAL teachers will also help pupils needing English as an Additional Language to access this part of the curriculum.

Review and Monitoring

This policy will be monitored and reviewed by the Board of Management in 2011 or when the need arises. The Board of Management will ensure that adequate training and support is provided for all staff.

Policy adopted by the BOM on    06.09.2010_

Sr. Maryjohn Chairperson, B.O.M