Relationship & Sexuality Education Policy

Introductory Statement

The school has a responsibility to put in place an R.S.E. Policy as part of the wider social personal and health education strand of the curriculum.  In 2009 – 2010 we adopted the “Making the Links” programme.  We combined all our existing S.P.H.E. policies including the work of the steering committee charged with setting parameters for the organisation and management of R.S.E. in our school.  The steering committee was comprised of two teachers reps., two parents’ reps. and two Board of Management reps.

Rationale

The need for this policy arises from our schools obligation to provide for all the needs of the student body and respond appropriately to sensitive and emotive issues relating to emerging sexuality.

Relationship to School Ethos

The school ethos affirms and supports close links between school and home.  Parents are acknowledged as the primary educators of children.  Parents also have the right to withhold their children from participating in R.S.E. classes.

Strand Units

Myself – Self identity, taking care of my body, growing and changing, safety and protection.

Myself and others – Myself and family, friends and relating to other people.

Taking care of My Body – Naming parts of the male and female body using appropriate terminology.  Identifying physical changes, understanding puberty and the reproductive system.

Growing and Changing – The stages of development of a baby from conception to birth.   Understanding sexual relations within the context of a committed loving relationship.

Teachers do not cover topics such as contraception and same sex friendships.  Children who ask questions in class on content outside the curriculum are talked to individually and discretely, and encouraged to talk to their parents.  Parents can be informed and asked to talk to their child if warranted.

Teacher Choice/Staff Development

The teachers right to choose is enshrined in the policy and if teachers do not wish to teach specific aspects of the programme or require additional aspects of the programme or require additional resources a suitable speaker may be employed by the B.O.M.   The teacher may need to plan the specific material to be covered and should be present during the talk.   If R.S.E. training is offered by the D.E.S., C.P.S.M.A., P.C.S.P., P.D.S.T. or any other authorised body the school will try to facilitate teachers attending the training.

Content and Language

The content of the R.S.E. programme is set out in the resource materials for Relationships and Sexuality Education.  A lesson will be given on the menstrual cycle in 4th class.  This lesson can be given with the help of the veritas video sex education for girls or using the R.S.E. handbook.  Both a male and a female teacher will be present for this lesson.  Pupils may be separated by gender for this lesson.

A lesson will be given in fifth class to boys and girls based on the veritas video sex education for boys and the veritas sex education for girls.  The lessons will focus on “Your Heart Growing Up”, “Your Body Growing Up” and “Boys Growing Up” for girls and “Growing to be a Man”, “Changes in Boys” and “Changes in Girls” for boys.

The boys and girls will be shown these videos separately; the girls will have a female teacher present for their lessons and the boys a male if possible.

In sixth class a trained specialist will visit the school and give a talk on sexual intercourse in the context of a loving relationship.  The visiting teacher will talk to parents after school to explain the content of the talk to the sixth class children.

When dealing with the human body teachers may use the words boys’ private parts, girls’ private parts, penis, vagina, womb, menstruation, periods and other scientifically accepted terms, as the teacher himself/herself deems appropriate.

Child Protection

The school follows the D.E.S. child protection guidelines and has a Child Protection Policy with the D.L.P. and the deputy D.L.P. named.  In the case of a disclosure the D.L.P. or Deputy D.L.P. will follow the procedures as set out in Children First.

Assistance for parents/follow up programmes

  • Veritas provide the DVDs that we use in class on veritas.ie and they also provide booklets for children and their parents.
  • The R.S.E. programme we use can be viewed at ecdrumcondra .ie
  • The H.S.E. provide a book and DVD guide for children to puberty which parents can obtain. The booklet called Busy Bodies is produced by Health Promotion Department, H.S.E. South Western Road, Cork and is available through our local Health Promotion Department at 057 9357828.  These are also available from the website healthpromotion.ie