header image

R.S.E. Policy

Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy

School Ethos/Philosophy /Mission Statement:

School Ethos:

St. John the Evangelist is a Roman Catholic School which has been established in connection with the Minister for Education and Science. It aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and with other people. The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. St. John the Evangelist as a Catholic school provides Religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith.

While St. John the Evangelist NS is a school with a Catholic Ethos it recognises and respects other religions and beliefs.

Mission Statement:

In St. John the Evangelist NS our mission is to enable each child live a full life as a child and to realise her potential in all dimensions of her life – spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical.

We in St. John the Evangelist NS are committed to the holistic development of all our pupils by creating a caring, enjoyable, respectful, inclusive and encouraging learning environment. We aspire to this vision in collaboration with all the partners in education, Parents, Teachers, Board of Management, Department of Education and Science and the wider community.

Definition of SPHE:

Social, personal and health education (SPHE) provides particular opportunities to foster the personal development, health and well-being of the individual child, to help him/her to create and maintain supportive relationships and become an active and responsible citizen in society. Through an SPHE programme children can develop a framework of values, attitudes, understanding and skills that will inform their decisions and actions both now and in the future.

Definition of R.S.E.:

RSE is part of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). RSE provides children with structured opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs and practical skills necessary to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships as children and subsequently, as adults. The children learn about themselves as sexual human beings, about their spiritual, social, emotional and physical growth and about the various changes that occur as they progress towards adolescence and adulthood.

Relationship of RSE to SPHE:

All of the Relationships and Sexuality Education will be delivered within the context of SPHE which is timetabled on our curriculum for the school year.


What the School currently provides:

Parents are acknowledged as the primary educators of their children and the school will work in a supportive role.

At present in St. John the Evangelist NS we promote a positive school climate and atmosphere that respects and cherishes all our pupils equally.

The following aspects of RSE are part of our current curriculum – both taught as discrete lessons and taught on an integrated, cross–curricular basis:

•Religious Education

•Stay Safe Programme

•Anti-Bullying (as part our school Discipline policy)

•Intercultural Material (material has been compiled and made available to staff)

•Walk Tall programme

•Group Work and Pair work

•Circle Time

•Co-operative P.E. games.

We endeavour to continue this existing good practice.


The aims of RSE are:

•To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of the child.

•To help the child to 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 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. (Pg. 9 – D.E.S. – NCCA Interim Guidelines on RSE – White Document)

For Overall Aims and Objectives of SPHE see Appendix: SPHE Primary School Curriculum Statement – Pages 9 and 10

Management and Organisation:

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and will be taught in this context (see SPHE Plean Scoile). The curriculum is spiral in nature (i.e. similar content is revisited at different stages throughout the child’s time at school) and all content will be delivered developmentally throughout the child’s time in the primary school.

In planning for teaching RSE we will ensure that over a 2 year period children will study elements from all the strand units.


All content objectives will be covered by the time the children leave 6th. Class.

RSE – Specific Education

( Infants – 6th) will be covered as stand alone (discrete) lessons in the strand units “Taking Care of my Body” and “Growing and Changing “ and “Safety and Protection “ where time can be given so that the children can acquire knowledge, ask questions, clarify information and develop skills.

However as the school curriculum is integrated, references may be made to the RSE – specific content covered in the discrete lessons in other curricular subject areas. The teacher may take the opportunity, within the parameters of the policy, to clarify language or information.


The acquisition of appropriate language in RSE is crucially important to enable children to communicate confidently about themselves, about growing up and the physical changes they are experiencing, and about their sexuality and their relationships.

The use of proper terms for parts of the body and its functions are given a status and acceptability. Embarrassment is reduced and as children get older and become comfortable with these words, they can discuss aspects of their growth and development with greater ease. They are also less likely to resort to inappropriate or vulgar language when referring to the body and bodily functions.

Topics covered up to 2ndclass include:

•Keeping safe

•Naming bodily parts using correct terminology

•Bodily changes during growth and development

•Making and keeping friends

•Making age appropriate choices

•Appreciating family life

•Recognising and expressing feelings

•Self care, hygiene, diet, exercise and sleep (link with P.E. policy,Healthy Eating Policy and S.P.H.E. policy)

•Expressing opinions and listening to others

Fifth / Sixth Class: Undertaken by ACCORD facilitators

The fifth class programme covered by the facilitators will include:

•1st Module: Introduces children to all aspects of development into adulthood and pays particular attention to the intellectual development looking at areas such as decision making, responsibility and peer pressure.


•2nd Module: This module looks at the uniqueness of each person in mind, body and spirit. We hope to assist the children with developing a good sense of self worth and at this point we also introduce the area of physical development at an age appropriate level.

•3rd Module: Examines the fears and hopes and sometimes pressures that young people can experience at this time and to give them some coping skills where necessary. At this point we will also revisit some of the information that has been discussed throughout the morning to ensure that everybody has a good understanding of their development.

(taken from www.accord.ie)

The sixth class programme covered by the facilitators will include;

•1st Module: Deals with the journey from childhood to adulthood and the changes that take place at a spiritual, intellectual and emotional level.

•2nd Module: Examines the pressures that children can experience at this time in their development and helps with some skills to deal with these pressures.
Physical changes will be discussed and conception and childbirth will be explained.

•3rd Module: The children will get the opportunity to reflect on the day and ask questions. They will get the opportunity to write questions at this point to allow the quieter children to have an opportunity to ask a question that they may otherwise find difficult to ask

(taken from www.accord.ie)

A letter will be sent home to parents prior to this detailing how this aspect of RSE will be taught and parents will be asked to give consent for their children to attend.

•Criteria for SPHE visitors:

In advance of a visit, common objectives will be discussed with the visitor, to ensure that he/she is acquainted with the material to be presented and also to confirm that the material itself is age appropriate. The speaker will be made aware of the parameters of the school policies related to this area. A teacher will remain present for the duration of the presentation.

•Special Needs / Differentiation:

Every child in St. John the Evangelist NS will be given the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the full range of experiences offered in RSE. Therefore, if necessary, the curriculum and resources will be suitably adapted so that all children will be given the opportunity to obtain maximum benefit from the programme.

In teaching RSE teachers will be sensitive to differences in family and social backgrounds as well as cultural and religious differences while at the same time planning and teaching the programme in accordance with the catholic ethos of the school.


Resources to be used:

In our school the following Resource Material is being used:

•ACCORD Dublin’ school programme

•Alive O – Veritas Publications

•Stay Safe Programme

•Walk Tall Programme

From time to time new resources may be introduced which meet the criteria laid down on Pg. 103 SPHE Teacher Guidelines.

Parents will be informed that they are welcome to view RSE teaching materials at the school.

The S.P.HE Curriculum Document is available online. Contact: www.curaclam.net.

Ongoing Support and Development:

Ongoing support and development will be provided for teachers, parents, Board of Management and ancillary school staff. At regular intervals, staff training needs in this curricular area will be audited. The school Board of Management will also be a source of support and financial assistance. The Primary School Support Programme (P.C.S.P.) is a supporting agency for the SPHE programme in the school. Staff will be encouraged and facilitated to avail of further training and in-service courses provided by the D.E.S. and its supporting agencies.


Policy and programme was reviewed after 1 year following implementation and at regular intervals thereafter. All the partners will be informed of any amendments necessary after a review.