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Relationships and Sexuality Policy

RSE is considered to be a ‘lifelong process’ of acquiring knowledge and understanding and of developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy.  Parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media deliver this education consciously and unconsciously.

1. School Details

Name:         Glenamaddy Community School
Address:    Glenamaddy, Co. Galway
Telephone:     094 9659315
Fax:         094 9659354
E-mail:    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Category:     Mixed Community School

2. Our School Philosophy

Glenamaddy Community School dedicates itself to providing a holistic education where the potential and uniqueness of each student is fostered and celebrated.  With our Educational Partners we strive to create a caring environment of mutual respect, where each individual is cherished and personal, intellectual and moral maturity is nurtured.  We find our inspiration in the Christian message of faith, hope and love.

3. Definition of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

“RSE aims to provide opportunities for young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and responsible way”.   (Going Forward Together, The Department of Education and Science, 1997)

4. Relationship of RSE to Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)

In the school setting, RSE will be taught as part of a wider programme of SPHE to Junior Cycle students.  There are no timetabled periods of SPHE at Senior Cycle level.  Elements of RSE are also incorporated into the Transition Year, Pre-Leaving and Leaving Certificate Religious Education Programmes respectively and in Social Education in the Leaving Certificate applied programme.

The approach to teaching any of the SPHE topics involved the following:
o    Giving students clear information
o    Building up their self-esteem
o    Helping them to learn to communicate
o    Assisting students to make decisions and express feelings in an appropriate way

5. What the School currently provides

Our school takes a cross-curricular approach to the teaching of SPHE and RSE.  All Junior Cycle classes receive one period of SPHE per week.

o    Elements of both SPHE and RSE are dealt with in subjects such as Biology, Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Career Guidance, Home Economics, Physical Education, Religious Education and Science syllabi

o    Counselling and Chaplaincy Services, Guest Speakers (e.g. Cura representatives, Pure in Heart), Personal Development Seminars and Yearheads also focus on some issues pertaining to SPHE and RSE.

6. The aims of our RSE programme

While recognising that the parent(s)/guardian(s) are the primary educator of the child, the school aims to complement this role by formally implementing the RSE course at Junior and Senior Cycle levels.

The aims of our school with regard to teaching RSE are as follows:

o    To help students to develop healthy friendships and relationships
o    To promote an understanding of human sexuality
o    To promote a healthy attitude to one’s one sexuality and to one’s relationships with others
o    To promote knowledge of and respect for reproduction
o    To enable young people to develop healthy attitudes and values towards their sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework.

7. Guidelines for the management and organisation of RSE in our school

Our aim for the future is to provide a whole-school approach to the development and the delivery of the RSE school programme.
The RSE committee and the SPHE co-ordinator will endeavour to achieve this goal.

Consultation with parent(s)/guardian(s)

o    Our school is committed to working with parent(s)/guardian(s) and acknowledges that parents have by law, the primary responsibility for the education of their children and that the home is the natural environment in which Relationship and Sexuality Education should take place.
o    Parents have the right to be fully informed about the programme and to express their views about the programme.  Also, parent(s)/guardian(s) may wish to exercise the right to have their child withdrawn from RSE.  In such cases, the school must be specifically notified in writing by the parent(s)/guardian(s) if they wish their child to be withdrawn from part or all RSE classes.  The school Principal will endeavour to put alternative arrangements in place.
o    A summary of the RSE programme (drafted by the SPHE co-ordinator) is posted to all parent(s)/guardian(s) at the beginning of each academic year. Parents/guardians are invited to provide any feedback or concerns they might have in relation to the content or delivery of the programme.


It is school policy that in situations where a pupil is considered to be at risk of any type of abuse (e.g. verbal or physical) or in breach of the law, the teacher must refer this immediately to the Principal, Guidance Counsellor or the Chaplain. The Principal has the responsibility of informing the parents and/or appropriate authorities and may arrange counselling if necessary. Therefore it is important that a teacher does not promise absolute confidentiality to his/her students.

Training and resources

o    The RSE programme will be based on the resource material for Relationships and Sexuality Education set out by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (N.C.C.A.) – see Appendix 1
o    It is very important that teachers delivering the programme have received adequate training and support.  The aim is that SPHE in-service training is made available to all teachers of SPHE.
o    The SPHE co-ordinator will have the overall responsibility for the provision of teaching resources to facilitate the teaching of this programme.

9. Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the RSE programme:

We are committed to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of this programme. Specifically important to the RSE programme are:

(a)    Pupil feedback
(b)    Staff review and feedback
(c)    Parental feedback

8. Homosexuality

Teachers do not promote any one lifestyle as the only acceptable one for society and therefore it is inevitable and natural that homosexuality will be discussed during the course of a sex education programme. Teachers do not avoid teaching about homosexuality, although they take care not to advocate homosexual behaviour. One of the main benefits of discussing homosexuality is that it gives the opportunity to correct falsehoods and addresses prejudice. Discussion on homosexuality should be appropriate to the age of the pupils.

9. Contraception and Abortion.

These topics will be dealt with in an age appropriate, open manner, looking at all sides of the issues in a non-directive way.

Appendix 1 – Guidelines for the management and organisation of RSE in our school

Six classes per year will be given to the implementation of RSE in the school.  The following is a description of a list of topics that may be taught depending on the level of maturity of the class.

Junior Cycle Year One

  • Me as Unique and Different
  • Looking at what makes us all different with special reference to masculinity and femininity
  • Friendship
  • Examining friendship as a basis for a wide range of relationships
  • Changes at puberty
  • Looking at the changes that take place during puberty – including psychological, social and physical.  The latter would include issues relating to hygiene
  • The Male and Female
  • This involves the RSE and the biology teacher working together in order to give a clear understanding of the male and female reproductive system, and the concepts of fertility and conception
  • Images of Male and Female
  • Analysing how our concepts of male and female are formed and developed
  • Respecting Self and Others
  • Looking at the importance of respect for self and others in relation to sexuality and morality, and in particular, how language may be used and abused

Year Two

  • From conception to birth
  • Giving the students a clear understanding of human fertility and the development of the foetus from conception to birth
  • Providing opportunities for developing an awareness of the feelings connected to a variety of relationships and the language needed to express these feelings
  • Examine the role of peer pressure and other influences in the area of sexuality
  • Providing the students with opportunities to develop skills for establishing and maintaining relationships at appropriate levels
  • Focusing on the skills for making considered decisions in the area of sexuality, consistent with a personal value system and within a moral framework
  • An awareness of the potential of developing new relationships and the practical steps involved in keeping safe.  This will include issues of health (eating disorders, substance abuse, STD’s, infection awareness) and personal safety (right to personal space, invasion of personal integrity, and the issues involved in sexual harassment and abuse). Help agencies are also identified
  • Recognising and expressing feelings and emotion
  • Peer pressure and other influences
  • Managing Relationships
  • Making responsible decisions


  • Health and Personal Safety

 Year 3

  • Body Image
  • Helping students to develop a positive appreciation of self
  • Where am I now?
  • A review of human growth and development with a view to the student identifying his/her own stage of development in the growth cycle
  • Relationships – What’s important?
  • Helping students to identify for themselves what is important in a mature relationship
  • Respect, rights and responsibilities
  • Dealing with respect for self and others and the rights and responsibilities involved in a relationship
  • Conflict
  • Identifying sources of conflict in context of relationships, and developing strategies for resolution

Senior Cycle

The following is a description of the topics that may be taught during Transition Year, Fifth and Sixth Year, depending on the level of maturity of the class.


  • Values and Relationships
  • Helping students to identify what they value in a relationship and think critically about idealised images of relationships presented by media and other sources
  • Personal Integrity
  • Looking at how affection is expressed in a variety of contexts, how to set boundaries and strike a balance within relationships in a way that protects personal integrity and respect for one’s own sexuality
  • Responsible parenthood
  • Using models of decision-making within a moral and spiritual framework to discuss fertility awareness, the menstrual cycle, family planning and the implications and consequences of pregnancy and parenthood for both male and female
  • Obstacles to responsible decision-making
  • Looking at the factors that impede responsible decision making e.g. alcohol, drugs, lack of assertiveness, peer pressure
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)
  • Looking at the nature of STD’s e.g. Aids, how they are contracted, the importance of early medical intervention and the location of appropriate medical support
  • Gender Discrimination
  • Looking at the roles assigned to people in life situations and how they are coloured by our stereotyped views of what it is to be male/female.  This might include issues of gender discrimination, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and pornography
  • Personal Rights and Personal Safety
  • Discussing the right to privacy and personal space, and the consequences when space and privacy are invaded.  The students will understand the invasion of personal integrity and issues of power and control involved in sexual harassment, abuse and rape.  Help agencies are also identified.
  • Making, keeping and ending relationships
  • Developing and enhancing the skills necessary for making, keeping and ending relationships
  • Commitment and Marriage
  • Helping students look at the various elements of marriage which helps support life-long love and family life





Glenamaddy Community School, Church Street, Glenamaddy, Via Castlerea, Co. Galway, F45KF50 


Telephone +353(0)94 9659315 | Fax +353(0)94 9659354 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

RCN: 20149543