The Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum fosters in children respect for their own dignity and that of others and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) which forms an integral part of SPHE aims to provide structured opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge and understanding of human sexuality and relationships. This process will enable them to form values and establish behaviour within a moral, spiritual and social framework.
RSE is a life long process of understanding and of developing attitudes, beliefs, values and virtues incorporating the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and moral dimensions of the whole person. It is influenced consciously and unconsciously by parents, teachers, peers and media. At primary level RSE aims to help children learn at home and in school about their development, friendships and relationships with others. This work will be based on teaching respect for themselves and for others and providing them with appropriate information for their stage of development. The programme develops in the children a positive awareness of themselves and a sensitivity to other people.
St. Marnock’s RSE policy is the product of consultation between parents, teachers, Parents’Association and Board of Management. It is rooted within the Catholic ethos of the school. The school will seek to communicate the Christian vision of human life and human relationships. The dignity, privacy and modesty of each individual child will always be respected and children will be encouraged to develop this respect for others.
The RSE programme will take account of:
- The age and developing range of children within classes.
- The differing rates of development of children.
- The life experiences of children.
- The personal and family privacy of each child.
- The special importance of the latency period i.e. the years of innocence.
- The moral needs of the child.
The school recognises parents as the primary educators of their children and will communicate with parents with a view to getting children introduced to the sensitive aspects of the programme in class. The school wishes parents to prepare their children for these aspects in advance. The school wishes to support the role of parents in the moral and social development of their children and acknowledges the right of parents to withdraw their children from aspects of the programme which they feel are inappropriate. Parents must inform the Principal Teacher in writing of their decision to withdraw a child. Occasionally the Board of Management may consider it appropriate to invite a speaker to address pupils on a specific topic.
The Board of Management will facilitate any teacher who wishes to withdraw from teaching an aspect of the programme. The management and organisation of the programme to be delivered in St.Marnock’s School will be formulated within the guidelines of this policy document. The policy acknowledges the need for training and the need for the provision of adequate resources for the effective implementation of an RSE programme in the school. The Board of Management will review the programme and will consult with parents and teachers as appropriate.