Relationships & Sexuality Education

School Philosophy

Sacred Heart is committed to enabling students to fulfil their academic, intellectual, moral, spiritual, cultural and physical potential.  It is our policy to value each child and help each child reach his/her potential.  We aim to foster the development of personal responsibility in an atmosphere of tolerance, fairness and support.  The Staff and Management of Sacred Heart School recognise the value of self-awareness, relationships and education in sexuality to each child attending our school.  We further recognise the importance of a balanced and sensitive approach to all persons involved in the process: pupils, teachers, parents and guardians.

Definition of R.S.E.

R.S.E. is a programme which aims to help children to learn at home and at school about their own development and about their friendships and relationships with others.  An important element of this programme is the development of the child’s self-esteem.

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

R.S.E. is an integral part of the broader programme of S.P.H.E. which includes a wide range of topics such as Healthy Eating, Substance Use and Abuse, Environmental Issues, Safety and Social responsibility as well as Relationships and Sexuality Education.  The approach in teaching will involve giving pupils clear information, building self esteem and helping them to make decisions and to express feelings in an appropriate way.

What the school currently provides

  • Elements of R.S.E. are taught informally through cross curricular links such as Religion classes, PE lessons, Social Environmental studies, informal discussion and through the school’s anti-bullying programme.
  • The school currently provides a variety of resources to support in the implementation of the SPHE programme:

            Walk Tall:      for the prevention of Substance Abuse

                                                (published by the Department of Education and Skills)

            Bía Folláin:    A programme of Social & Health Education

                                   (published by the Mid-   Western Health Board Health Promotion Unit)

            Stay Safe:       Personal Safety Skills for Primary Schools, Child Abuse

                                    Prevention Programme.(published by the Department of Health)

            Be Safe:          Road, Fire and Water Safety Programme

                                    (Published by the National Safety Council)

            Up and Away: Primary School Health Education Programme

                                                (published by the North Western Health Board)


Stay Safe Programme

Written consent if necessary for those wishing to participate in this programme which is offered in Senior Infants, Second, Fourth and Sixth Classes.  This programme is a teaching package aimed at preventing both physical and sexual abuse of children by giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves, addressing common childhood problems such as bullying, getting lost and how to deal with strangers.

Aims of the R.S.E. Programme

  • To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well being of each child.
  • To help the child develop healthy friendships and relationships.
  • To foster an understanding of and healthy attitude to human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
  • To enable the child to acquire knowledge and understanding of oneself and the dignity and uniqueness of others, to value family life, to respect differing family patterns and to appreciate the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • To develop strategies in decision making, protecting oneself and others from various forms of abuse and to be discerning in their judgement of positive and negative external influences.
  • To enable the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction.

Organisation of R.S.E. programme in Sacred Heart Primary School

Written consent of parents is required for the child’s participation in some elements of the programme.  The school will ensure that parents who wish to withdraw their child from the R.S.E. programme are facilitated.

The responsibility for imparting the R.S.E. programme for pupils will rest primarily with the teaching staff of the school.  However, the school also respects the individual right of each teacher to withdraw from the teaching of any aspect of any programme about which they may have reservations.

Parents, Board of Management and Staff have agreed that overt Sexuality Education will be offered only to pupils in Senior classes. (5th & 6th).

The Stay Safe programme will continue to be offered to Senior Infants, Second, Fourth and Sixth Class pupils.

Sex education for senior girls

The primary responsibility for the education of young people in this area rests with the parents and guardians.  It is the policy of our school to assist and not replace this responsibility.  The school will employ an expert in the area of RSE/SPHE to support us in the implementation of the programme.

Session 1         The parents/guardians of 5th and 6th class pupils will be invited to a briefing on the content of the programme.  After this session parents/guardians can now decide whether or not they want their child to participate. Parents must give their written consent if their child is to attend.

Sessions 2&3  will involve 2 workshops for sixth class girls facilitated by an outside expert.

Session 4         will be an introductory workshop for 5th class girls.

Review of R.S.E. programme

The R.S.E. programme will be reviewed and evaluated in the context of the S.P.H.E. Programme at regular intervals, to ascertain how the programme is working, its strengths and weaknesses and changes will be implemented where necessary.

This review and evaluation and resulting changes will be carried out in full consultation with the school community.