Kilmacanogue National School (Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy (RSE)

Kilmacanogue National School 

RELATIONSHIPS and SEXUALITY EDUCATION POLICY

RSE

Our School’s Ethos/Mission Statement

Our school is a 13 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 teacher from Delgany NS.

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: If it’s not nice we don’t do it and if it’s not nice we don’t say it. 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.

Code:

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

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

  • to enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of the child
  • to help the child to develop healthy friendships and relationships
  • to foster an understanding of, and a healthy attitude to human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework
  • to enable the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction
  • to develop and promote in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life
  • to enable the child to be comfortable with the sexuality of oneself and others while growing and developing.

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) in the teaching of SPHE and RSE

Management and Organisation of RSE

  • A developmental approach
    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.
  • Possible sensitive issues
    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.
  • Language
    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.

    • Junior Infants: womb, breast feeding
    • Senior Infants: penis and vagina
    • 1st class: urine passes through the penis in boys and the urethra in girls. Baby is in womb for 9 months and may be breast or bottle-fed
    • 2nd class: penis and urethra, vagina (revision), navel and breast
    • 3rd class: puberty, the womb, breast feeding, umbilical cord
    • 4th class: developing foetus, changes in puberty – body shape, menstruation, voice changes, mood changes, skin changes, increases in body hair
    • 5th class: puberty (revision); physical changes in boys and girls
    • 6th class: reproduction and sexual intercourse in the context of a loving committed relationship.

Topics explored in class are:

  • Myself – Self-identity, taking care of my body, growing and changing, safety and protection.
  • Myself and others -Myself and my family, my friends and other people and relating to others.
  • Taking care of my body-Naming parts of the male and female body using appropriate terminology for Junior and Lower Middle classes. Identifying physical changes, understanding puberty and the reproductive system in the Senior Classes.
  • Growing and changing– The stages and sequence of development of the human baby from conception to birth to be taught in the Middle classes, 3rd and 4th.

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:-

  • Keeping safe.
  • Naming bodily parts using correct terminology.
  • Bodily changes during growth and development.
  • Making and keeping friends.
  • Making age appropriate choices.
  • Appreciating family life.
  • Recognizing and expressing feelings.
  • Self care, hygiene, diet, exercise and sleep (link with P.E. Healthy Eating Policy and S.P.H.E.)
  • Expressing opinions and listening to others.

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

  • Bodily changes.
  • Healthy eating, personal hygiene, exercise.
  • Keeping safe.
  • Expressing feelings.
  • Family relationships.
  • Making healthy and responsible decisions.
  • Forming friendships.
  • Reproduction, conception (5th and 6th Classes)

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

  • Not give such information.
  • Refer him/her to their parents/guardians.

Privacy

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

  • In SPHE and RSE parents are acknowledged as the primary educators of their children and the school will work in a supportive role.
  • On enrolment parents are informed of all the school policies and encouraged to make themselves fully aware of their content
  • Several of the school polices are available on the school website www.kilmacschool.ie as well as in hard copy form from the school office.
  • An outline of the sensitive issues will be available to parents upon request before they are taught, so that they can prepare their child before it is dealt with in school.
  • A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from the process will be honoured on the understanding that the parent is taking full responsibility for this aspect of the pupil’s education. It is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school in writing of this decision.
  • If parents wish to withdraw their child from the process, it is their responsibility, in consultation with the school, to make alternative arrangements for the care of their child while withdrawn from the class

Confidentiality

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

Each class teacher will teach the SPHE programme.
A teacher’s right to opt out from teaching the sensitive issues will be honoured.
Provision will then be made for these issues to be taught by another staff member.

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 Principal, Miss Niamh Murray, 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. The cost of the lectures has been borne by the Parents’ Association and the pupils.

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 school Principal, Miss Niamh Murray.

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.

Ratification

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