RSE Policy

Policy Statement



School Name: St. Laurence’s N.S.



Address: Crookstown, Ballytore, Athy, Co. Kildare



Phone: 059-8623333



Category: Mixed Boys and Girls

                   Junior Infants – 6th Class



Enrolment: 321 pupils



Roll No. 09414C



Introductory Statement

St. Laurence’s N.S. has a responsibility to put in place an R.S.E. policy, as part of the wider Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.) strand of the Curriculum. The process was initiated in 2007 when the policy committee (B.O.M., Staff and Parents) was charged with setting parameters for the organization and management of the R.S.E. in the school.



The need for this policy arises from our school’s obligation to provide for all the needs of the student body and respond appropriately to sensitive and emotive issues relating to emerging sexuality.







Schools Educational Philosophy and Ethos


Mission Statement


The years your child spends in Primary School are the most important years of his/her school going life. The discipline, attitudes and learning skills acquired there will be those the child will use for the rest of his/her academic career and life. If these habits are good and solid then he/she will be a happy, mature and contented student. We as parents and teachers must do everything in our power to nurture and care for the child’s developing mind, body and spirit.




St. Laurence’s National school is committed to providing Primary School education where each individual is enabled to grow physically, morally, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. We recognise that the children will flourish in a friendly and open environment and we strive in each class and throughout the school, to create a strong sense of community. We try to raise the children’s awareness of ecological matters, and we have introduced a policy of recycling through the school.




We share in the responsibility of transmitting knowledge and attitudes which will enable the children to grow in their religious faith. We are a Catholic school but pupils of different persuasions attend our school and their religious outlook is respected. All children are equally welcome.




We believe that a strong spirit of co-operation exists in our school, between the teaching staff, the ancillary staff, parents and pupils. The parents are after all, the primary educators of their children and the school is where the professional educators complement the work of the home.




It is the earnest wish of the staff, parents and management of the school that each pupil should leave St. Laurence’s N.S.with a good self image and with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to ensure that whatever walk of life is chosen later on, he/she can look forward to further growth and fulfilment in the future.






Definition Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.)


Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.) is now an integral part of the Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.) Curriculum.


R.S.E. is a programme which aims to provide opportunities for our pupils to develop the skills and competence to learn about themselves and their development, their relationship with others and their sexuality. This is achieved in ways that help them to think and act in a moral, caring and responsible manner.

            Respecting the ethos of the school and sensitive to the needs and wishes of parents and pupils, the school management will provide an R.S.E. Programme as part of the Social Personal and Health Education Programme (S.P.H.E.) already being taught in our school for some years; thus providing children with structured opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs and practical skills necessary to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships as children and later as adults.


Relationship of R.S.E. to S.P.H.E.

In St. Laurence’s N.S. R.S.E. will be promoted and developed as an integral part of the S.P.H.E. Programme which aims to


  1. Promote the health and well being of our pupils in the context of their emotional, moral social and spiritual growth as well as their intellectual, physical, political religious and creative development.
  2. S.P.H.E. in St. Laurence’s also aims at building self-esteem and learning skills of communication, decision making and expressing feelings in an appropriate way.


What St. Laurence’s currently provides:

At present many of the aims of the R.S.E. programme are being dealt with in the following areas:

  1. Stay Safe Programme – All classes Junior Infants to 6th Class.
  2. Alive O Programme (Religious Education)
  3. The Environmental Studies and Health Education Programme
  4. Code of Behaviour.
  5. Circle Time
  6. Life Skills Programme arranged for 5th and 6th classes, which involves visiting teaching Counsellors from the Accord Programme, who will meet with parents and discuss the programme content.

            The areas covered by the facilitators include:

                        (a) Personal and relational growth

                        (b) Sexual and emotional development as appropriate to this age group


            The 3 modules include:

  1. Being a responsible person – what it means
  2. Adolescent Changes
  3. Questions around the programme


7.     Drug Awareness Programme (Walk Tall)


The Aims of our R.S.E. Programme


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


Guidelines for the Management and Organisation of R.S.E. in Our School.

  1. The Board of Management / The Principal is responsible for arrangements with regards to the teaching of the programme and the development of the staff.
  2. The Catholic ethos of the school will be taken into account at all times. Every effort will be made to deal with sensitive issues in a manner which will take into account the different life experiences of the individuals involved.
  3. The R.S.E. lessons will be carefully matched to the developmental stages of the children.
  4. An atmosphere that respects the privacy of the individual will be created in the classroom.

Parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children in sexual matters. The schools R.S.E. programme acts as a support only to parents.

The programme is taught with the ethos of the school and contempory issues / topics are dealt with by the teacher, at a level appropriate to the age and stage of development of pupils within a moral and spiritual framework. Teachers are present at all times when guest speakers are visiting a class.



It is the responsibility of the Board of Management to ensure that R.S.E. is taught in the school. Teachers will decide the timetabling of R.S.E. / Stay Safe lessons. The staff decision is that these lessons will be taught to all classes in Term 3. This allows the children the time to absorb the values within which this knowledge is presented.











RSE and Stay Safe Programme

RSE and Stay Safe programme will be taught in the context of S.P.H.E. The content objectives that will be addressed in discrete time for the sensitive areas of the R.S.E. and Stay Safe elements of S.P.H.E.are listed and it is agreed that these objectives will be addressed in both classes at a particular level, year two serving to revise the content objectives covered in year one. Each teacher has a list of the content objectives. All of these issues will be dealt with in the context of the development of attitudes and values consistent with the ethos of our school. The following arrangements have been made in collaboration with parents, Board of Management and teachers:

  • Timetable
  • Dealing with Questions
  • Confidentiality
  • Communications between school and home / Parents’ choices
  • Teachers’ choices
  • Guest Speakers



Dealing with Questions: Teachers establish ground rules limiting the discussion to material covered in present or previous lessons. Teachers will use their discretion based on the content, spirit of this plan to decide whether the question should be discussed in the classroom context, giving a brief age appropriate response or referred to parents. For teachers who have opted not to teach the R.S.E. lessons, questions can be referred to the Principal.


Confidentiality: Teachers establish ground rules covering the limits of the discussion, the level of respect required and the concept of confidentiality. All discussions will remain within the parameters of planned material. If a matter is divulged to a teacher where either an accusation or a suggestion of a criminal act is made, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Principal, (the Designated Liaison Person), who will refer it to the proper authorities. (See Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools. Circular 0065/2011 and our schools Child Protection Policy). In these matters a teacher should never agree to keep a secret for a child.


Discrete Time: S.P.H.E. may be timetabled for ½ hour per week, one hour per fortnight or blocks of 1 – 2 hours per month where feasible or appropriate. Children who are withdrawn for supplementary teaching must be included for as much of the S.P.H.E. programme as possible. This discrete time is used to develop and practise particular skills, deal with sensitive issues that are not addressed in other areas of the curriculum. It has been agreed that content objectives dealing with R.S.E. and child protection are addressed through discrete time.









Communications between School and Home / Parents’ choices:

 R.S.E. is an integral part of the S.P.H.E. Curriculum and schools are not required to ask parents to sign a permission slip to allow their child to attend lessons on the sensitive issues in R.S.E. / Stay Safe.

            Parents have a right to choose whether or not their children receive instruction on the areas covered by the R.S.E. / Stay Safe objectives. Parents may choose to withdraw their children from some or all of these objectives. Where parents wish to take their child out of the lessons on the sensitive issues, they must put this in writing and meet with the Principal to discuss arrangements re how this information will be given to their child and how best to manage the opting out process, in the best interest of the child. Every effort will be made to minimise attention being brought to these children. While these children are not present for formal lessons on the sensitive areas, teachers cannot be held responsible for language used necessarily in school life or by children.

            All parents will be made aware of the R.S.E. and Stay Safe topics that will be covered each school year in Term 3, and the ethos within which they will be delivered. All parents should discuss these topics with their child, prior to class discussions. Any parent who has concerns, should discuss them with the Class Teacher / Principal.

  • Each family will be given a copy of the parent information booklet `R.S.E .Going Forward Together` in Term 3 with a covering letter.
  • New parents will be made aware of the R.S.E. / Stay Safe Policy.
  • Parents of new junior infants will be informed in June and will receive the information booklet in their introductory pack.
  • Home / School links pages.



Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting

Teachers should base their yearly and short term plans on the approaches set out in this whole school plan for S.P.H.E. Work covered will be outlined in the Cuntas Miosúil, which will be submitted to the Principal. Cuntais Miosúil will be used to review the schools programme for S.P.H.E.


Parental Involvement

S.P.H.E. is a shared responsibility between family and school.

Ÿ  Copies of the school plan for S.P.H.E. are available from the Principals office.

Ÿ  R.S.E. / Stay Safe Information Booklet will be given to Parents each year.

Ÿ  Parents will be made aware of content objectives that deal with ‘sensitive’ issues and will be asked to discuss these issues with their child prior to the lessons in school

Ÿ  When aspects of the S.P.H.E. plan (Substance Use, Child Protection, Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.), Nutrition) are reviewed parent representatives from the Parents’ Association will form part of the review group.


Community Links

The school will liaise with the Health Promotion Unit of the local Health Board and other agencies to assist, as appropriate, the schools programme for S.P.H.E.



Objectives that cover RSE & Stay Safe programme

The following objectives cover the ‘sensitive’ areas in the R.S.E.and Stay Safe programme. They will be addressed in the following classes according to our two year plan.




Junior /Senior Infants

Strand Unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

Name parts of the male and female body, using appropriate terms.


Strand Unit: Safety and protection:

Personal Safety

Ÿ  Identify situations and places that are safe and those where personal safety might be at risk


1st and 2nd

Strand Unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

Ÿ  Name parts of the male and female body, using appropriate anatomical terms, and identify some of their functions.


Strand Unit: Safety and protection:

Personal Safety

Ÿ  Recognise and explore situations where children feel safe and those where safety might be at risk.


3rd & 4th

Strand Unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

Ÿ  Realise the importance of caring for and treating his / her own body, and that of others, with dignity and respect

Ÿ  Understand the physical changes taking place in both the male and female body

Ÿ  Realise that these change do not occur at the same time but nonetheless are predictable and natural and that being different is normal


Strand Unit: Growing and changing:

As I grow I change

Ÿ  Recognise and discuss how feelings and emotions are affected by the physical changes that take place at puberty

Birth and new life

Ÿ  Discuss the stages and sequence of development of the human baby, from conception to birth


Strand Unit: Safety and protection:

Personal Safety

Identify people, places and situations that may threaten personal safety.








5th and 6th:

Strand Unit: Taking care of my body

Knowing about my body

Ÿ  Recognise the importance of treating his / her body and others with dignity and respect

Ÿ  Identify and discuss the physical and other changes that occur in boys and girls with the onset of puberty and understand that these take place at different rates for everyone

Ÿ  Understand the reproductive system of both male and female adults

Ÿ  Become aware of some communicable diseases and explore how diseases and infection spread


Strand Unit: Growing and changing:

As I grow and change

Ÿ  Explore patterns of development and growth, comparing present development with that of earlier stages: physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.


Birth and new life

Understand sexual intercourse, conception and birth within a context of a committed, loving relationship

Discuss and explore the responsibilities involved in being a parent and the emotional and physical maturity required to be a parent.


Strand Unit: Safety and protection:

Personal Safety

Identify situations and places that may threaten personal safety.


Teachers’ choices

Teachers have a right to choose whether or not to give instruction in the area covered by the R.S.E. objectives. Where a teacher decides not to give instruction in these lessons the following guidelines will apply:

  • Another staff member / Principal may deal with this material
  • A guest speaker may be invited to deal with this issue
  • Teacher who choose not to deal with aspects of the S.P.H.E.programme must bring this to the attention of the Principal at the earliest possible opportunity to enable alternative arrangements to be put in place.


Guest Speakers

The principal and the class teacher involved will consult with Accord or other suitable agencies should guest speakers be required to deal with R.S.E. issues or co-teach these issues. The following guidelines will then apply:

  • The teacher / teachers concerned will make the guest speaker aware of the objectives to be covered and the policy and ethos within which they will discuss
  • The class teacher or another class teacher will remain with the class group while the guest speaker is present. When using an outside speaker, the classroom teacher will design the S.P.H.E. Programme in such a way that his / her lessons lead into the lessons presented by the outside speaker and follow on from them.



Child Protection

This school follows the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures which are based on Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011. The Principal is the designated liaison person (DLP). Each Staff meeting teachers are reminded of the schools Child Protection Policy and the procedures to be followed in dealing with incidents related to child protection. Parents are also informed of these procedures through the school website ( Each teacher has a copy of our policy on Child Protection and a copy is available to parents in the Principal’s office and online, on our school website. In cases of disclosure: the D.L.P. will follow the procedures as set out in our Child Protection Policy.


Ongoing support, development and Review

  1. The programme will be monitored and assessed on an on-going basis by those involved. It is envisaged that the teaching staff will review and adjust the programme as the practicalities of the classroom situation demands.
  2. The Board of Management will review and update the policy as necessary.
  3. The Board of Management will be responsible for on-going, in-career development of teaching staff.
  4. The material being taught will be available for parents at the school and the home / school link pages for each theme will give the Parents / Guardians an insight into the work being done in the school.



This policy was drafted as a result of a process of consultation involving staff, parents and the Board of Management following ongoing Curriculum Development.


Policy ratified by the Board of Management of St. Laurence’s National School


On: 26th June 2012


Chairperson: David O`Grady


Review and updated in line with Department of Education and Skills guidelines and procedures in April / May 2012



Appendix – Language being used.

Appendix – Resources.