Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy (RSE) / Beartas Oideachas Caidrimh agus Gnéasachta

Catholic primary school seeking to foster a welcoming environment where every child will be valued and cherished.

Ethos / Mission Statement

Our school is a 14 teacher school in Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow, with almost 250 children including boys and girls. We have 4 SNAs and 2 secretaries as well as a visiting Support Teacher from Powerscourt National School.
We are a Catholic primary school seeking to foster a welcoming environment where every child will be valued and cherished. We want to encourage and guide every child to develop their talents and gifts while caring for each other.
Our school motto is: Cherish Your Learning.
As a school community, we value the contribution of all our members, respect their uniqueness and respond to their individual needs in a caring and supportive manner.
Our mission is to provide a caring, happy, secure and well-ordered atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural development of each pupil is identified and where each pupil is given the opportunity to achieve their potential.
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) as a component of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) furthers this mission.


R.S.E. = Relationships and Sexuality Education
S.P.H.E. = Social Personal and Health Education
Stay Safe = Anti-bullying/ Child Protection Programme
Walk Tall = Self Esteem Programme
WWB = Weaving Well-Being Programme: Character Strengths, Positive Emotions, Tools of Resilience, Positive Relationships, Empowering Beliefs.

Definition of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

SPHE is the process which enables pupils to develop an understanding of themselves. It helps them to choose and follow a healthy lifestyle and enables them to play responsible roles as individuals and as members of society. (NCCA draft Guidelines 1995)

Definition of RSE and relationship to SPHE.

RSE is an integral part of SPHE and deals with human growth and development, human sexuality, parenting, social skills and relationships. It provides children with opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of these areas through processes which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework. (Interim Guidelines Page 7)
The Aims of Relationships and Sexuality Education

Current provision for RSE in Kilmacanogue National School

In the past, Relationships and Sexuality Education was taught in the context of Religious Education in Social and Environmental Studies and Health Education class. Kilmacanogue National School now uses lessons and activities from the Religious Education Programme (Grow in Love etc.), Child Abuse Prevention Programme (Stay Safe), Substance Misuse Programme (Walk Tall) and Relationships and Sexuality Programme (RSE), Weaving Well-Being Programme and DCU Anti-Bullying Campaign in the teaching of SPHE and RSE.

Management and Organisation of RSE

Teaching about relationships and sexuality will be delivered in the context of SPHE. All content objectives will be taught developmentally from Junior Infants to the time the children leave at the end of 6th class. All issues will be discussed with sensitivity and professionalism with an awareness of the varying levels of development of the children and dynamics within a class.
Naming the body parts and sexual intercourse will be covered within the strand units ‘Taking care of my Body’, ‘Growing and Changing’ and ‘Safety and Protection’ in a sensitive manner.
The acquisition of appropriate language in RSE is crucially important to enable children to communicate confidently about themselves, their sexuality and their relationships (Interim Guidelines, p53). Not being familiar with the biological terms for the body can put children at a disadvantage (Department of Education and Skills Resource Materials for Education and Sexuality Education, Jnr/Snr Infants, p.148-149). We will give children the correct and appropriate language outlined in the RSE materials.

Topics explored in class are:

Understanding sexual relations within the context of a committed loving relationship as well as being able to identify and discuss physical and other changes that occur in boys and girls at puberty and to understand the reproductive systems of male and female adults to be taught in the Senior Classes of 5th and 6th.

Overall View of Topics covered up to 2nd class include:

Overall View of Topics covered from 3rd to 6th Classes include:

The Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme is taught in all classes Junior Infants – 6th class In a multi-class situation with children of different class levels and abilities, which at present does not exist in Kilmacanogue National School, should information be inappropriate for the younger age group, they will be withdrawn.
Except for 6th Class, if the class teacher feels that a particular class is not ready for parts of the prescribed programme, he/she, in consultation with Miss Murray the Principal, may defer those areas for the following year.
Children with special educational needs will receive the same content objectives as other children, but the teacher may have to differentiate the information and use more active learning methodologies i.e. make it more child specific. Special Education Teachers (SET) will differentiate and advise where necessary.

Answering questions

Should a pupil require information that is not in line with the curriculum content, and not considered to be age-appropriate for the general body of pupils, the school will


Everyone has the right to privacy (see Universal Declaration of Human rights and UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child). Teachers will not answer personal questions about themselves nor require the child to give information of a personal nature which they do not wish to share.

RSE policy and other curricular areas

Our policy on RSE will also inform the teaching of the Strand ‘Living Things’ in Science.

Rights and responsibilities of Parents/Guardians


If a child is withdrawn for the teaching of sensitive issues we cannot guarantee that the other children will not tell/inform him/her about what was taught.

Rights and responsibilities of teachers

Trained outside Personnel and Child Protection Information

All information delivered will be informed by the content objectives of the SPHE Curriculum. (See SPHE Curriculum Statement p. 32)
Kilmacanogue National School follows the DES Child Protection Guidelines and has the appropriate Child Protection Policies and procedures as well as the Child Safeguarding Statement in place.
The Acting Principal, Ms. Ann Marie Bourke, is the Designated Liaison Person and any concerns that arise in relation to Children First Guidelines are to be referred to the Designated Liaison Person.
If a member of staff is unavailable to teach the sensitive issues, arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme will be made by the BOM.
In the past guest speakers from ‘Accord’ have delivered a full day programme to Senior Classes where issues such as physical and emotional development, bodily changes and sexual awakening are explored.
In some instances, the class teacher may wish to undertake this lesson and where this occurs, the materials, language and power point presentations to be used in the lesson are fully discussed with the Acting School Principal, Ms. Bourke.

Sources and Resources

We will use the RSE and the Stay Safe programmes and other resources that are deemed suitable by the Department of Education & Skills and the Principal / SPHE coordinator.

Provision for ongoing support, development and review

Where necessary, or if opportunities arise, the Board of Management may be requested to fund/support ongoing in-career development for teachers and the purchase of relevant materials or resources.
This policy is available on the school website as well as in hard copy form from the school office. It has been formulated and implemented by the school community including the BOM, staff, parents and children.
This policy and the RSE programme will be reviewed by the BOM regularly or as new legislation dictates. All partners will be informed of any amendments after such a review. RSE resources will also be reviewed to ensure they are kept up to date.


This RSE Policy has been reviewed and ratified by the Board of Management of Kilmacanogue National School

Signed: Judy O’Toole (Chairperson) 20th January 2021

Signed: Niamh Murray (Principal) 20th January 2021

Under review for November website update – Ann Marie Bourke & Judy O’Toole November 1st 2022

Updated: 24th November, 2022, Ann Marie Bourke and Judy O’Toole