Arklow CBS

SPHE Policy

SPHE Policy Arklow CBS

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), which includes an element of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), is a part of the curriculum at Arklow CBS.

Mission Statement:

  • In a caring partnership of school, home and community, Arklow CBS seeks to achieve its aims through a broad and balanced curriculum which combines the best of traditional education with the needs of the modern and ever changing world. In this way students are prepared for examinations, for third level education, for the world of work and for life itself.

In harmony with the Mission Statement of Arklow CBS, the teaching of SPHE, including RSE, shall be informed and guided by Christian values of tolerance and respect.

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) supports the personal development, health and well being of young people and helps them create and maintain supportive relationships. The aims of SPHE are to enable students to develop skills for self-fulfilment and living in communities, to promote self-esteem and self-confidence, to enable students to develop a framework for responsible and informed decision-making, to provide opportunities for reflection and discussion and to promote physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

The whole-school values and ethos, which include care, respect and responsibility, underpin and support the approach and values in SPHE.

The curriculum for SPHE in the junior cycle is presented in ten modules, each of which appears in each year of the three-year cycle. The ten modules are

  • Belonging and integrating
  • Self-management: a sense of purpose
  • Communication skills
  • Physical health
  • Friendship
  • Relationship and sexuality
  • Emotional health
  • Influences and decisions
  • Substance use
  • Personal safety

The detailed content of the SPHE (including RSE) programme is contained in the subject plan for SPHE.

The state syllabus is available online:

This programme is available for inspection to all parents/guardians on request.

Parents may withdraw students from RSE classes, but must take responsibility for the supervision of students at these times.

Visiting speakers/groups who address students relating to SPHE/RSE shall be informed of this SPHE policy and must be willing to abide by this SPHE policy. Visiting speakers for RSE/SPHE must be discussed and approved by the SPHE Dept.

For the purpose of workshops or classes delivered by such visiting speakers or groups, the timetabled class teacher shall remain with the class group.

The management of Arklow CBS will support and facilitate the effective timetabling of this subject area, as well as the development and ongoing review of the subject area, the subject plan and this policy.

Within these parameters we aim to:

  • Creates an atmosphere of Christian care and concern
  • Provide an environment, which enables students to grow to maturity
  • To enable students to develop a healthy self-esteem
  • Provide the educational environment and facilities to enable students to reach their full potential
  • Provide a disciplined atmosphere, which encourages respect for self and others and enables the student to grow in freedom

Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy

A. Definition of relationships and Sexuality Education

Relationships and Sexuality Education is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding and of developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Relationships and sexuality education seeks to provide young people with formal opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of human sexuality, through processes, which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours, within a moral, spiritual and social framework. Parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media deliver this education consciously, and unconsciously. The school recognizes that parents/guardians are the primary educators and home is the natural environment in which Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) should take place.

B. Relationship of RSE to Social Personal and Health Education

The aims of an RSE programme i.e. the provision of opportunities for young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and responsible way, can only be done through a full Social, Personal and Health Education programme.

SPHE operates on the basis of primary prevention i.e. prevention of social ills rather than treatment of them. It adds dimension to education of empowering people to manage their own lives. Principally therefore by providing RSE through an SPHE programme we teach young people personal skills to increase their personal effectiveness, so that, in the context of their own lives they are able to implement informed decisions in relation to their own sexuality and relationship to others.

C. Aims of the Arklow CBS RSE programme:

In this school, RSE will be located within the SPHE programme at Junior Cycle and at Senior Cycle in Religion until SPHE is introduced at senior level. The specific aims of the RSE programme are:

To help young people understand and develop friendships and relationships

To promote an understanding of sexuality

To promote a positive attitude to one’s own sexuality and in one’s relationship with others

To promote knowledge of and respect for reproduction

To enable young people to develop attitudes and values towards their sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework.

D. What the school currently provides:

Various aspects of SPHE and/or RSE are being addressed in a cross curricular way and support what is taught in Junior Cycle SPHE. Details of the SPHE programme are included in the Subject Plan for SPHE.

E. Guidelines for the management and organisation of RSE in Arklow CBS

The Principal will make arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme and the deployment of staff.

  1. Informing and Involving Parents:

Parents are the primary educators of their children and the school sees their role in education concerning relationships and sexuality as very important. This policy has been designed in consultation with Parents’ Council representative and the views expressed by parents will be taken into account when reviewing the policy. A copy of this policy will be made available to any parents on request to the school office. Parents will be kept fully informed through periodic information sessions, circulars, through the Parents’ Council and Board of Management of the development and presentation of the RSE programme. While all partners in the school community - teaching staff, parents and management - are agreed on the programme, we recognise, nevertheless, the right of any parent who so wishes to request that his/her son should not participate in the programme.

What we do if a parent makes a request for withdrawal from the RSE programme:

It is the right of parents to withdraw their child from the RSE module of the SPHE programme. Parents must notify the Principal in advance of their wish to have their child withdrawn from the programme. Parents will be informed by text message before the programme commences.

  1. Timetabling

The RSE programme will follow the general outlines for each year group drawn up by the NCCA. The content will be delivered in six class periods per year as follows: First, Second and Third Year: RSE will be an integral part of the SPHE programme, which is timetabled for one period per week.

Senior Cycle RSE will be part of the Religious Education Programme until SPHE is introduced at senior cycle. The Draft Guidelines for RSE (NCCA, June 1995, 1.2) state that Social Personal and Health Education is “spiral, developmental in nature and age appropriate in content and methodology”. The RSE programme is designed to follow this principle and pattern.

It is the right of parents to withdraw their child from any part of the programme being taught.

The school also recognises the many out of school factors which affect the development of a positive attitude to sexuality during adolescence - the social lives of students, the kinds of relationships they form, their behaviour within these relationships, the peer expectation of relationships, the reading material of students, and their exposure to sexually explicit material on video, television and through music. The RSE programme will attempt to heighten the students’ awareness of the influences of these forces on the development of their values and attitudes and empower them to make informed decisions and choices.

  1. Offering Advice and Classroom Strategy regarding questions, which may arise in class

Issues that may arise in the RSE class will be addressed in a manner that reflects the Ethos of the school, Department of Education & Science RSE guidelines Child Protection Guidelines (DES).

  1. Confidentiality

At all stages where child protection concerns arise the (DES) schools Child Protection Guidelines will be followed. We cannot guarantee confidentiality but teachers will strive to create a safe learning environment for all students. The pamphlet “Procedures for Dealing with Allegations or Suspicions of Child Abuse” issued by the Department of Education contains the following in paragraph 4.1:

“If a teacher receives an allegation or has a suspicion that a pupil is being abused, the teacher should, in the first instance, report the matter to the principal or in exceptional circumstances directly to the Chairperson of the Board. Where the matter is reported to the principal and he or she is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion or allegation the Chairperson or Manager should be advised. The Principal Liaison Officer, together with the teacher, should report the matter to the local Director of Community Care/Medical Officer of Health. It is essential that at all times the matter be treated in the parties mentioned above.” (note: In the case of this school, the Principal acts as Manager in this respect)

  1. Withdrawing pupils from the RSE programme

This policy is made available to parents in the school office and on the school website, including details about the parents’ right to withdraw their child from RSE - parents will always be provided with a full copy of this policy following a request to do so.

Section 5 - On-going Support, Development

All teachers delivering the RSE take part in the SPHE training programme offered in the East Coast area.

Section 6 - Review Personnel and Timeframe

Participating teachers will meet at least once a year to evaluate and review the programme.

There will also be an annual review. The annual review team will comprise the Principal, Deputy Principal and RSE teachers. Parents’ comments will be considered. Our Relationships and Sexuality Policy has been written by the school and agreed by staff, Parents’ Council and the Board of Management. It will be reviewed annually.

Dissemination of Policy

Copies of this policy are available to all school community. It is available on the school website, and from the School Office. New staff and parents of new pupils are made aware of this policy as part of their induction to the School. Students are made aware of the policy within the context of the SPHE programme.

Ratified by the Board of Management on 08/04/2014

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Correspondence from Dept Of Education and Skills
Arklow CBS,
Coolgreaney Rd,
Co. Wicklow,
Y14 RV04

0402 32 564

© 2021 Arklow CBS