RSE Policy

Caherconlish National School


Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.) encompasses the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the development of attitudes, beliefs and values about relationships, sexual identity and intimacy.


In Caherconlish N.S. we seek to promote the overall development of the child which involves the integration of Relationships and Sexuality into personal understanding, growth and development within the context of our Catholic ethos.

Policy Formation

This policy statement was drawn up by the BoM of Caherconlish N.S. who formed an RSE committee through its representative members for the purpose of formulating this policy. Full consultation with the broad parent body and all teaching staff was engaged at draft stage, allowing all partners in education to influence policy formation. This policy was revised in May 2017.

Definition of Relationships and Sexuality Education

Relationships and Sexuality 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, spiritual and social framework.

Aims of our R S.E. Programme.

The aims of our RSE programme are

  1. To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well being of the child.
  2. To help the child to develop healthy friendships and relationships
  3. To foster an understanding of and a healthy attitude to human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
  4. To enable the child to acquire an understanding of and a respect for human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction.
  5. To develop and promote in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life.
  6. To enable the child to be comfortable with the sexuality of him/ herself and others while growing and developing.

Rights and Responsibilities of Parents/ Guardians

  • In the SPHE and RSE programmes parents are acknowledged as the primary educators of their children and the school will work in partnership with them in a supportive role.
  • On enrolment in our school parents will be provided with an overview of the SPHE/RSE programme.
  • An outline of the lessons on sensitive issues will be made available to parents before they are taught so that they can prepare the child before they are dealt with in school if they so wish.
  • A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from the process will be honoured on the understanding that the parent is taking full responsibility for this aspect of education. It is the responsibility of the parents to inform the school in writing of their decision to withdraw their child and of their willingness to cover sensitive issues with their child outside of school hours.
  • A child who has been withdrawn from class for the duration of a discrete SPHE lesson will be accommodated in another classroom under the supervision of another teacher pending the completion of the lesson.


If a child is withdrawn from the class for the teaching of sensitive issues we cannot guarantee that other children will not inform them of the content of the lessons. Incidental teaching may also take place in the integration of other curricular areas, which refer to these classes.

Rights and Responsibilities of Teachers

  • Each class teacher will teach the SPHE programme including the sensitive areas. Teachers will only address the curricular content for their class level and questions on these areas.
  • A teacher’s right to opt out from teaching the sensitive issues will be honoured. Then provision will be made for these issues to be taught by a colleague or external suitably qualified personnel.
  • RSE will be taught from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. All information delivered will be informed by the content objectives of the SPHE Curriculum (SPHE Curriculum Statement page 10)

Relationship of R.S.E to S.P.H.E.

In Caherconlish N.S. R.S.E. will be taught formally in the context of Social Personal and Health Education. S.P.H.E. 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.

S.P.H.E. is taught from Infants to Sixth Class in accordance with Department of Education and Skills guidelines and as highlighted in this document in enhanced through informal incidental teaching and the broader school ethos and culture. The children will experience S.P.H.E. as it is lived every day in the broader school community.

The use of programme resource materials such as Stay Safe, Walk Tall, Bí Folláin and the R.S.E. guidelines will be used in a complimentary fashion under the umbrella term of S.P.H.E. The principal and the staff will set the programme on a yearly basis taking class groupings, the mental and physical maturity of the pupils and Special Educational Needs requirements into account.

The S.P.H.E. Curriculum is divided into FIVE strands namely:

  • Myself
  • Myself and Others
  • Myself and The Wider World
  • Media Studies
  • The Development of Citizenship

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 over the 8-year primary cycle.

Curriculum Content for RSE

The following are the RSE content objectives, according to class groups, which are taken from the SPHE Curriculum. Each objective will be presented and taught using an approach, which is sensitive, and age appropriate.


Myself : Taking Care of My Body

  1. Respect his/her own body and that of others
  2. Name parts of the male/female body using appropriate anatomical terms.*

Myself : Growing and Changing

  1. Become aware of new life and birth in the world
  2. Develop an awareness of human birth

Myself: Safety and Protection

  1. Explore appropriate safety strategies
  2. Identify situations and places that are safe and those where personal safety might be at risk
  3. Realise how other people can persuade him/ her to engage in unsafe behaviour.

* Sensitive Issue

First and Second Class

Myself: Taking Care of My Body

Name the parts of the body using the appropriate anatomical terms *

Myself: Growing and Changing

  1. Begin to understand that reproduction, birth, life, growth and death are all part of a life cycle.
  2. Appreciate what is necessary in order to provide and care for newborn babies in both the animal and human world.
  3. Realise the various roles parents and other family members have in providing for new born-babies.

Myself: Safety and Protection

  1. Recognise and explore situations where children feel safe and those where safety might be at risk.
  2. Discuss and practise appropriate strategies for dealing with these situations.
  3. Realise how other people can persuade him/her to engage in unsafe behaviour and how this may be counteracted.

* Sensitive Issues

Third & Fourth Class

Myself: Self Identity

  1. Explore the factors that influence the child’s self image and how they feel about their body.

Myself: Taking Care of my body

  1. Understand that physical changes take place in both the male and female body.
  2. Realise that these changes do not occur at the same time but nonetheless are predictable and natural.
  3. To understand that being different is normal.
  4. Recognise the adverse effects of sexual stereotyping and realise that these effects can become more exaggerated as the physical differences between males and females are more apparent.

 Myself: Growing and Changing

 Recognise and discuss how feelings and emotions are affected by the physical changes that take place at puberty.

  1. Begin to appreciate the need for space and privacy in life.

*3. Discuss the stages and sequence of development of the human baby, from conception to birth.

4.Identify the care that needs to be taken while waiting for a

baby to be born.

  1. Develop an appreciation of the wonder of a new-born baby.

Myself: Safety & Protection

  1. Identify people, places and situations that may threaten personal safety.
  2. Begin to realise that as independence increases, responsibility for personal safety increases and that a strategy for keeping safe with people has to be developed and adhered to by each individual.

 * Sensitive Issues

 Fifth and Sixth Class

 Myself: Taking Care of my Body

*1. Identify and discuss the physical and other changes that occur in boys and girls with the onset of puberty and understand that these take place at different rates for everyone.

2.Understand the reproductive system of both male and female adults.

  1. Become aware of some communicable diseases (Chickenpox, mumps, rubella) and explore how these diseases and infections are spread.

* Sensitive Issue

Myself: Growing and Changing

  1. Identify and discuss the changes that are experienced in growing from child to adult.
  2. Explore the patterns of development and growth, comparing present development with that at earlier stages, physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
  3. Appreciate the need for individual space and privacy as children grow and develop.
  4. * Understand sexual intercourse, conception and birth within the context of a committed, loving relationship.
  5. Discuss and explore the responsibilities involved in being a parent and the emotional and physical maturity required to be a parent.
  6. Acquire the ability and confidence to identify, discuss and explore a range of feelings, especially those that are difficult to express.
  7. Discuss and practise how to express and cope with various feelings in an appropriate manner.
  8. Understand how feelings help in understanding ourselves as individuals
  9. Differentiate between needs and wants and recognise and explore the concept of learning to wait.
  10. Discuss the different types of love that exist and explore how love is portrayed and defined in music, films, books, magazines and other media.

Myself: Safety and Protection

  1. Identify situations and places that may threaten personal safety.

Myself and Others: My Friends and other People

  1. Explore the differences between boy/ girl and same gender friendships.
  2. Consider problems that can arise in friendships and other relationships and how these could be handled.

 Myself and the Wider World: Media Education

  1. Recognise unequal treatment of sexual roles and other issues in literature, advertising, drama, magazines and other media.

* Sensitive Issues

 Cross Curricular Integration

Many of the subject areas recommended by the Department of Education and Skills to reinforce the values of the SPHE/RSE programme are already being used on a whole school basis in Caherconlish N.S. to do just this.

Language Development

Language has a vital role to play in SPHE/RSE. It is important that a child be able to articulate their feelings. Topics to enhance such language development cover the areas of Myself, My News, My Friends, My Family.


Many of the areas covered in the area of the R.E. programme also help to develop the identity of the child as an individual, as a family member and as a member of broader communities. Examples of such lessons include: I am Unique, My Body, Resolving Conflicts, Growing and Changing.

Social and Environmental Studies

This subject deals with a wide range of issues including personal hygiene, the life cycle, and the body.


The Irish programme again reflects and reinforces themes of the RSE programme covering the topics Mé Féin,  Mo Chlann,  & Ar Scoil.

The Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme deals with many of the issues developed in the RSE syllabus namely the development of Self Esteem, My Body and Self Protection.

Arts Education

Through many of the varied Art, Drama and Music activities the children already interpret and display an understanding of some of the information contained in the RSE programme, for example recognising growth and new life, exploring through the senses of sight, touch, sound, responding to works of art pieces of music reflecting the various stages of life/ environmental issues/ emotions etc.


Through movement and the Physical Education Programme children become aware of their physical bodies at the various stages of development.


The identification of the parts of the human body is included in a staged approach at each level of the primary science programme. Children also cover the subject areas of body growth, movement, breathing, and the heart at staged intervals. The development of children’s understanding of the changes, which occur during puberty and reproduction, are covered in fifth and sixth classes in accordance with the SPHE programme of Caherconlish N.S.

Management and Organisation of the R.S.E.

  • Relationships and Sexuality Education is an on-going process throughout life. A child’s first experience of love, of intimacy and of relationships takes place in the family. 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 complimenting their role with a school based programme in R.S.E.
  • The children will cover all the content objectives of the R.S.E Programme by the time they leave sixth class.
  • The teachers’ right to opt out will be honoured but this will not affect the teaching of the subject.
  • Parents will be informed of sensitive issues classes two weeks in advance of these lessons.
  • A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from the sensitive issues process will be honoured on the understanding that the parent 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 is asked to discuss with the principal how this may be facilitated.
  • Curriculum books and resource materials are available in the school and parents are welcome to borrow them if they desire.
  • The school has no responsibility for any information which the pupil may receive outside the direct teaching of R.S.E lessons.
  • Questions arising from curriculum content will be addressed by the teacher in a sensible, sensitive and age appropriate manner.

Ongoing Support, Development and Review

The BoM of Caherconlish N.S. supports and fosters the development of an R.S.E. school policy. Teachers will review the programme of work at regular intervals. Caherconlish N.S. will ensure access to in-career development opportunities for teachers and interested parties on the topic of RSE. All partners will review the policy and programme after the first year and every four years thereafter. Any amendments necessary as a result of reviews will be undertaken.


The BoM of Caherconlish N.S will implement the RSE policy immediately on ratification.



This policy was ratified on   /    /