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RSE Policy

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Geashill NS
R.S.E. Policy

School Philosophy

Geashill N.S. is a village school which caters for children from a wide variety of backgrounds with a special class for the deaf and the hard of hearing. As a catholic school we aim to create and maintain a happy atmosphere where each child can grow and develop physically, emotionally, academically and spiritually. Each child has a right to learn and each teacher has a right to teach in a safe, disciplined and disruptive-free environment and to be treated with due courtesy and respect. In such an atmosphere self discipline, responsibility for actions and respect for order and authority are fostered. Communication channels are open with parents meeting teachers on both a formal and informal basis. Integration of the deaf and hard of hearing is encouraged as much as possible. We recognise parents as the primary educators of their children, particularly in the area of R.S.E. Provision will be made for the rights of parents who hold conscientious or moral objections to their children's participation in the R.S.E. programme. Provision will also be made for teachers who hold conscientious or moral objections to delivering particular areas of the programme while recognising the rights of the pupils to have access to the R.S.E. programme.

Definition of R.S.E.

R.S.E. aims to provide opportunities for children and young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and responsible way. At primary level R.S.E. aims to help children learn at home and in school about their own development, about their friendships and relationships with others. This work will be based on developing a good self-image, promoting respect for themselves and others and providing them with appropriate information.

R.S.E. and S.P.H.E.

Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.) is being taught as part of the revised curriculum in this school. S.P.H.E. contributes to developing the work of the school in promoting the health and well being of children. S.P.H.E. explores issues such as relationships both at home and in school, building self-esteem, communication skills, decision making and appropriate expression of feelings. It includes information on healthy eating, alcohol, drugs, personal development, safety and social responsibility and environmental issues.

R.S.E. is an integral part of S.P.H.E. and must be taught in this context. Aspects of S.P.H.E. are already being taught in Social, Environmental & Scientific Studies, Religious Education, Physical Education, Stay Safe programme, Self Esteem and personal development programmes (e.g. Circle Time).

Aims of R.S.E.

That after eight years in Primary School, the programme will have succeeded in:

  • Enhancing the personal development, self-esteem and well being of the child
  • Helping the child to develop healthy friendships and relationships
  • Fostering an understanding of and a healthy attitude to, human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework
  • Enabling the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, human love and reproduction
  • Developing and promoting in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life
  • Enabling the child to be comfortable with the sexuality of oneself and others while growing and developing


Policies in place which support R.S.E.

A code of Discipline and Behaviour and a Policy on Bullying has been drawn up for the school with the co-operation of Teachers, Parents and Management. In keeping with the sentiment and spirit of these policies the school informally supports many of the aims on which S.P.H.E. / R.S.E. are modelled. It encourages good behaviour, open communication, understanding and tolerance of differences and respect for self and for others. A sense of responsibility is fostered and attention is paid to the well being of all members of the school community.

Alive O Programme

The Alive O Programme is used in all classes, Junior Infants to Sixth Class. This programme extensively covers many of the topics of the S.P.H.E. and R.S.E. Programmes. The topics, particularly as they relate to self esteem and inter-personal relationships, are dealt with as they arise in the programme.

Health Education

Topics related to hygiene, care of the body, diet, adequate sleep etc are all dealt with in the context of Physical Education and on a formal and informal basis at appropriate levels in the classroom.

Stay Safe Programme

Since 1989 this programme has been taught in schools. Children in the school are taught the programme at appropriate levels during the Primary school year.

Content of R.S.E. Programme

The programme will be available in the school in order that parents may familiarise themselves with the contents. The R.S.E. policy of the school is obliged to indicate the biological terms for the body that will be used and the ages they will be introduced:

Junior and Senior Infants: head, eye, ear, nose, breast (in the context of feeding), skin, hips, navel (where baby is joined to mother), bottom, penis and urethra (in context of going to the toilet), knee, leg, foot.

First and Second Classes: Revision of infant terminology. Vagina (opening where a baby leaves its mother's womb).

Third and Fourth Classes: Revision of terms previously introduced.

Fourth Class: Periods (in the context of personal hygiene and growth from girl to woman).

Fifth and Sixth Classes: Revision of terms previously introduced. Identify and explore physical changes at the onset of puberty.

Sixth Class: Understand how conception to birth takes place. Building on the programme already covered. The manner in which all issues are discussed will be with sensitivity, professionalism and an awareness of varying group dynamics within a class.

The lesson plans for the R.S.E. Programme are available in the school for perusal.

The Management and Organisation of R.S.E.

The Principal in consultation with the staff will make provision for the delivery of the R.S.E. Programme. Lesson plans from the Department of Education and Science will be assessed and where necessary amended by the school staff. Pupil maturity and readiness for the different stages of the programme will be one of the criteria on which this assessment will be based.

Parents Rights and Responsibilities

Notice will be given to parents outlining the contents of each topic/theme. It will be the responsibility of the parent to inform the class teacher in writing if there are lessons in the programme which they do not wish their children to cover. Provision will be made for children who are withdrawn from certain areas of the programme.

Teachers

Where a teacher has a conscientious objection to deliver certain aspects of the programme, provision will be made for those aspects to be delivered by a colleague/visiting teacher.

Outside Speakers

As in the case with all subjects, outside speakers may sometimes be invited to speak to the children on some aspects of R.S.E. The policy of this school will be outlined and care taken to ensure that the guest speaker is aware of the content which would be covered by the class teacher in the areas of growth and development and reproduction. The guest speaker would be required to only cover matters which are currently in our agreed policy. The class teacher would remain with the class group while the guest speaker is present.

Classroom Strategy re: Sensitive issues which may arise

Teachers will explain that the amount of information given will be part of this year's programme and further information will be given at a later stage. If the question is factual and within the agreed programme for that age group, the teacher will answer it. If the question is a moral one, Catholic Church teaching will be adhered to.

If the question is genuine, the teacher may advise the child to ask at home, or may consult the parents to get their permission to answer the question. Teachers will not answer personal questions. Reference may be made to questions/sensitive areas which will not be addressed at this time.

Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of R.S.E.

- Confidentiality
- Parents' rights/responsibilities
- Multi-class situations
- Ethical issues
- Moral values framework

Ongoing Support, Development and Review

- Where opportunities arise, in-career development will be sought for teachers
- The Parents' Association may be able to access training for parents
- Once the R.S.E. Programme has been taught for two years, this policy will be reviewed by the policy committee.

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