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RSE Policy

School Policies
RSE Whole School Policy – Draft 2019
This policy statement is an approved approach to the teaching of RSE  in Scoil Naomh Buadáin.  It was  developed in 2019 by the school staff with help from PDST cuiditheoir Aimee  Keaveney. It was developed to inform teachers and parents as to the material  covered in the RSE programme within the SPHE curriculum.
School  Philosophy
Scoil Naomh Buadáin is a Catholic  school under the patronage of the Bishop of Derry. It is managed by a Board  of Management, elected according to the procedures agreed by the Partners in  Education. The school has a Catholic ethos and this ethos is a guiding  principle in the formulation and implementation of this RSE Policy. This  ethos recognises the value and dignity of each pupil and all those working in  the school community, and aims at promoting the full and harmonious  development of all aspects of the person, including:
a)  relationship with God
b)  relationship with family
c)  relationship with teachers
d)  relationship with self
e)  relationship  with others
f)  relationship with the environment.
This ethos also acknowledges the cultural and  religious values of all the pupils attending the school.  The school recognises that the parents are  the primary educators of their children and we support them in that role.
In the area of RSE, above all, the schools’ role is  subsidiary to that of the parents. We support and compliment their work.
Definition  of RSE
RSE is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education and  must be taught in this context.  It  provides structured opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge and  understanding of human sexuality and relationships through processes, which  will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral,  spiritual and social framework.  (p. 5  NCCA curriculum and guidelines for RSE). RSE is the formal approach to  educating children in:
·          Relationships with others – parents, siblings,  friends and the community in general
·          Respect for themselves and others
·          Physical development – bodily functions and changes,  and personal hygiene
·          Emotional development – maturing in society
·          Parenting, personal and social skills and  relationships
·          Sexuality in context – part of a loving relationship.
Relationship  of RSE to SPHE and Religion
Social, Personal and Health Education contributes to developing the  work of the school in promoting the health and well-being of children and  young people. This happens in the context of their emotional, moral, social  and spiritual growth, as well as their intellectual, physical, political,  religious and creative development. (p.5 Going Forward Together Parents  Information Booklet).
The key characteristics of this programme are that  SPHE is a lifelong process and is a shared responsibility between family, school,  health professionals and the community. The main strands of the SPHE  programme are:
·          Myself
·          Myself and Others
·          Myself and the Wider World
It is clear that the Relationships and Sexuality  Programme is correctly defined as being an integral part of the programme  outlined above.  Sexually sensitive  issues will be covered within the strand units:
·          Taking care of my body
·          Growing and changing
·          Safety and protection.
As stated previously, the content of all lessons  will be governed by the schools’ Catholic ethos as taught in the Alive-O  Religion programme.
Current  Provision
Traditionally we have been a child-centred  school. The educational and emotional needs of the children in our care are  central to our planning and policy making processes. We have always, and will  always continue to put the welfare of the children first.
Included in the school curriculum in Scoil Naomh Buadáin is:
·          Religious Education (Alive-O)
·          SPHE Curriculum
·          Stay Safe Programme
·          Walk Tall Programme
·          MySelfie and the Wider World (Senior Class)
·          Busy Bodies (Senior Class)
Policies  which support SPHE/RSE
·          Code of behaviour and discipline policy              
·          Anti-Bullying Policy        
·          Child protection policy                                    
·          Enrolment Policy                                  
·          Healthy Eating Policy (in progress)               
·          Internet Safety Policy                                   
In keeping with the sentiment and spirit of these policies, we  informally support many of the aims on which RSE is modelled. We encourage  good behaviour, open communication, understanding and tolerance of  differences, and respect for self and others. We recognise that both pupils  and staff have rights and responsibilities in our school. A sense of  responsibility is fostered and attention is paid to the well being of all of  the members of the school community.
Aims of our  RSE programme
When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and  varying circumstances, the Relationships and Sexuality Education curriculum  should enable the child to:
·          Develop a positive sense of self-awareness,  self-esteem and self-worth
·          Develop an appreciation of the dignity, uniqueness  and well-being of others
·          Understand the nature, growth and development of  relationships within families, in friendships and in wider contexts
·          Develop an awareness of differing family patterns
·          Come to value family life and appreciate the  responsibilities of parenthood
·          Develop strategies to make decisions, solve problems  and implement actions in various personal, social and health contexts
·          Become aware of the variety of ways in which  individuals grow, change and understand that their developing sexuality is an  important aspect of self-identity
·          Develop personal skills, which will help to  establish and sustain healthy personal relationships
·          Develop some coping strategies to protect themselves  and others from various forms of abuse
·          Acquire and improve skills of communication and  social interaction
·          Acquire and use an appropriate vocabulary to discuss  feelings, sexuality, growth and development
·          Develop a critical understanding of external  influences on lifestyles and decision making.
Guidelines  for the Management and Organisation of RSE in our School
Curriculum  Matters
The curriculum as published by the NCCA will be followed. All content  objectives will be covered by the time each pupil leaves 6th class  – (see Appendix A for further details). The curriculum will be taught from  Infants to 6th class.  It will be ideally be taught by the  teaching staff. Occasionally it may be deemed necessary for an outside  speaker to address the “sexually sensitive issues” i.e. puberty, reproductive  system, conception, birth and sexual intercourse on the 6th Class  curriculum.  All resources used will be in keeping with  the ethos of the school and this policy.
·          Sensitive issues classes are generally taught from  infants to 4th during the month of February. Topic 1 on the fifth  class programme (menstruation) is generally delivered in September, with  Topic 2 (puberty) in February. The sixth class programme is delivered during  the child’s final term in school
·          In a multi class situation, the younger class will  be withdrawn when topics being taught are not age-appropriate
·          When an outside speaker is used, the SPHE  coordinator/principal will make them fully aware of school policy.  Parents/guardians will be notified of the name of this speaker in advance of  the lesson. The class teacher will remain with the class during the lesson.
Organisational  Matters
·          Prior to the teaching of lessons involving “sensitive  issues”, parents will be informed by letter with an accompanying outline of  the lesson (including vocabulary to be used)
·          Written parental consent  will be sought for lesson 3 (conception) in 6th class
·          It is a parents/guardians  right to withdraw a pupil from these lessons. This request for withdrawal  must be made in writing.
·          If parents/guardians request the withdrawal of a  child from RSE lessons, provision will be made for them to leave the  classroom at that time. Supervision will be provided. With regard to matters  of a confidential nature, the school cannot take any responsibility for what  is discussed in the yard or classroom. Should a child who is withdrawn from  the sexually sensitive classes receive inappropriate information from others  outside of these classes, it will be the responsibility of the  parent/guardian to address the issues.
·          Any teacher has the right to opt-out from teaching  the sexually sensitive issues in RSE.  It is responsibility of Board of  Management to ensure that the curriculum will be delivered to the children,  by another teacher, or an outside speaker.
·          Parents are welcome to view the curriculum and may  speak to the class teacher if they have any concerns.
Dealing with  Questions
It is natural that children should wish to  ask questions in the area or RSE. However, this area is treated somewhat  differently from other subjects due to its sensitive nature.
All questions answered will reflect the parameters of the  curriculum.  Certain topics will not be  discussed i.e. abortion, masturbation, homosexuality, contraception.  Questions to the teacher may be written or  oral within the group setting and answered within the boundaries of the  curriculum and school policy. If any questions asked by the children are  judged to be inappropriate, the teacher will refer the child to their  parents, or state that this information may be available at a later stage of  the curriculum. The school cannot guarantee confidentiality if a child asks a  question of a personal nature or discloses personal information.
At all times the child’s  and teacher’s right to privacy will be maintained
Parental Involvement
Parents/Guardians  are the primary educators of their children and as such the school supports  them in this role. As stated parents/guardians will  be given the option of withdrawing their child from a particular lesson if  they so wish. The Parents’ Council may on occasion arrange for  speakers/meetings to help them in the task of communicating with their  children on aspects of their development. Parents/Guardians may access copies  of the policy from the school office, or school website.
Lesson plans from the DES have been assessed  and amended where necessary in line with this school policy. These lessons  plans are available in the SPHE press for each class grouping. The Alive O  programme, the Stay safe programme, and a selection of other appropriate  resources will also be used. All resources are available for  parents/guardians to view if they so request prior to the delivery of the  lesson.
Provision  for Ongoing Support
·          Parents are welcome to view curriculum if they so  wish (available online)
·          Funding will be sought for the provision of suitable  materials when deemed necessary.
·          Opportunities provided by our Education centre will  be brought to the attention of   staff  members. Career development will be sought for staff when required, or as  requested.
The  staff, under the guidance of the Principal will review this policy every two  years. This policy will also be reviewed should the need arise.
Ratification  and Communication
The  Board of Management of ______ School ratified this amended plan on ____________  20__.

Appendix A
RSE - Sensitive Areas
Junior Infants
New Life – mention of baby in the womb.
Senior Infants
My Body – specific names for male and female sex organs – vagina, penis, womb.
First Class
New Life – New baby. Baby joined to mother by umbilical cord – mention breast feeding.
Second Class
Birth of baby through vagina. Mention umbilical cord and breast feeding.
Third Class
As for second class, but in more detail.
Fourth Class
Language around baby’s development in womb i.e.,  fertilised egg, cord. Pictures of foetuses (in RSE manual) to be used.
Fifth and Sixth Classes
Menstruation in the context of hygiene and growth from a girl to a woman.
Boys and girls development – puberty.
How does new life begin?  (6th class only)
Biological facts as follows: (6th class only)
  • What     journey does the egg make?
  • What     journey does the sperm make?
  • Where do     they meet?
  • What     happens when they meet?
  • Optional     videos: Fifth class – Growing
  • Sixth     class – Busy Bodies.
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