RSE Policy

Ballyshannon National School

Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy



This policy was drawn up by the staff in consultation with the Parents’ Association.



The school recognises that the parent is the primary educator of the child.  This RSE policy, as in all other policy areas, acknowledges this and seeks to support parents in this role.  Our school fosters close contact between the school and the home.   Parents and teachers support one another and collaborate with one another as partners in leading the young pupils to the fullness of their potential as they grow and mature.


Our School Philosophy

Ballyshannon N.S., is a Roman Catholic School.  As such we aim to promote the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, based on Gospel values.


Within the school, a spirit of mutual respect is promoted between children, parents, teachers and members of the Board of Management. Pupils are drawn by example and teaching to appreciate and respect people of different religious affiliations and of different nationalities.  Teachers are sensitive to the needs and particular circumstances of the pupils’ and supportive of their parents’ role.


The Relationships and Sexuality programme will be taught within this ethos.   Within our school, we promote the following ideals:



The RSE programme will reflect these ideals.


Definition of RSE

Relationships and Sexuality Education is about gaining knowledge and understanding of physical, social, cultural, psychological and moral development.  It includes attitudes, beliefs and values about relationships, sexual identity and intimacy within a moral, spiritual and social framework.  This understanding of RSE will contribute to the development of personal well-being, will enhance personal relationships and will have positive implications for family and community life.


Relationship of RSE to SPHE

RSE will be taught within the wider context of Social Personal and Health Education and religious and moral education.  The programme will be covered using a cross-curricular approach but some lesson topics will be under specific curricular headings.  For these sensitive lessons, the cross-curricular approach will not apply.  These lesson topics will be listed separately.





Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy -2-


The aims of our RSE programme

We aim to provide an education in which each child can develop a responsible awareness and caring attitude towards their own and other’s sexuality and human worth, enabling them to form caring and appropriate relationships throughout their lives.  This education is to be provided sensitively in a manner and content appropriate to individual needs.


Our RSE programme aims to:


Guidelines for management and organisation of RSE in our school

The RSE content and methodology to be used will be based on the Guidelines for primary schools drawn up by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).  This programme will be delivered after a process of consultation between parents, teachers and the Board of Management.  This programme will be reviewed when deemed necessary.

The principal and teachers are also available to assist parents.


Parents’ rights and responsibilities

The RSE programme will be delivered to support and complement the process already begun in the home.  Parents must make themselves aware in advance of the content of the programme so that they can begin the process of informing their children in advance of school involvement.  This may involve teaching specific agreed terminology and content about relationships and human development.  The policy recognises the right of a parent to hold concerns about the RSE programme.  Where this applies the parent should discuss this with the principal and teacher.  Where concerns persist the school will facilitate a parent’s decision, while

taking regard of the need for sensitivity towards the child.


Classroom teaching

Arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme and the deployment of staff will be made by the principal.  Where appropriate, boys and girls will be addressed with regard to specific issues concerning their own gender and stage of development.  With regard to the sensitive issues, i.e., puberty, adolescence, conception and birth, parents of senior pupils will be informed in advance of these lessons.  Teachers will use their professional judgement/discretion – based on the content or spirit of the policy to decide whether to answer certain questions in the classroom context.




Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 1st/2nd class

Naming parts of the body including parts of the male and female body using appropriate anatomical terms (10 minutes approx.).


3rd/4th classes

Sequence of development of the human baby from conception to birth.

(40 minutes approx.)


5th /6th classes

Changes in male and female bodies as they grow


Reproductive system of male and female

Understanding sexual intercourse, conception and birth.

( 3 hours approx.)


Dealing with Questions:

Teachers do not cover content outside that of the DES curriculum or the school’s religion programme. Topics excluded include contraception, same sex friendships, abortion etc. Answers to questions must be in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching i.e.  sexual intercourse will be discussed within the context of marriage. At the same time teachers should answer questions sensitively aware that there are children in our school from many social backgrounds. No child should be made feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when these issues are raised.


Children, who ask questions in class on content outside the curriculum taught, should be talked to individually and discretely, as soon as is possible, by the teacher and encouraged to seek answers from their parents. If a child poses such a question the parents will be informed and asked not to ignore it but to deal with it as they see fit.





Teachers will deliver lessons in a spirit of respect for the rights of children and their families concerning privacy and confidentiality.







This RSE Policy has been drawn up by a policy committee, comprising of:


2 teachers

2 members of Board of Management

2 Parents




This Policy was ratified at the BoM meeting on 7th February 2017

























Dear Parents,



Dear Parents,


We are planning to teach the Stay Safe Programme and Relationships and Sexuality Programme to all classes over the next two school terms, as part of the subject Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE). All teachers on staff have attended in-service training on delivering the SPHE curriculum to primary school children and are fully qualified to do so. You, the parents are the primary educators of your children. Ideally, Relationships and sexuality should be addressed by parents, in the home, as they see fit. Sometimes, for different reasons, children do not get this information at home. At this stage of the year teachers know the children in their classes; know their sensitivities and make every effort to cater for their different needs. It is best that this is taught naturally and appropriately within the school day, taking into consideration the age of the children. We would appreciate it if you would cover these topics as listed below and overleaf, with your children over the next few weeks. If you wish to discuss this programme I will be happy to meet with you. A copy of our SPHE policy is available from the secretary.  The following objectives cover the ‘sensitive’ areas in the RSE and Stay Safe programmes.




 Strand unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body (10 minute lesson approx.)

·          Name parts of the male and female body, using appropriate anatomical terms

Strand unit: Safety and protection

Personal Safety

·          Identify situations and places that are safe and those where personal safety might be at risk.





 Strand unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

·          Realise the importance of caring for and treating his/her own body, and that of others, with dignity and respect

Strand unit: Growing and changing

Birth and new life (40 minutes approx.)

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

Strand unit: Safety and protection

Personal Safety

·          Identify people, places and situations that may threaten personal safety.





(3 hours approximately)

Strand unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

·          Recognise the importance of treating his/her body and others with dignity and respect

·          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

·          Understand the reproductive system of both male and female adults

·          Become aware of some communicable diseases and explore how diseases and infections spread.


Strand unit: Growing and changing

As I grow I change

·          Explore patterns of development and growth, comparing present development with that of earlier stages: physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual

Birth and new life

·          Understand sexual intercourse, conception and birth within the context of marriage involving a committed, loving relationship.

·          Discuss and explore the responsibilities involved in being a parent and the emotional and physical maturity required to be a parent


Strand unit: Safety and protection

Personal Safety

·          Identify situations and places that may threaten personal safety.


All parents should discuss these topics with their child prior to class discussion. If you have any questions or concerns about the programmes please do not hesitate to contact me or your child’s class teacher.





Yours sincerely,





Lorraine McGovern