St. Colmcille’s Boys’ National School, Chapel Lane, Swords, Co.Dublin K67 WP65

(01) 8405132

St Colmcille's BNS

Ní neart go cur le chéile


Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy of St Colmcille’s BNS

Review Committee Members 2013

SPHE Co-ordinator: Fiona McDermott

School Principal: James Bennett

Teachers’ Representative: Orla O’ Doherty

Parents’ Representative: Paula O’Brien, Joseph Dromgoole

Board of Management Representative: Margaret McKiernan


During an audit of school policies, it was noted that the RSE policy had not been reviewed since 1997. A committee was established in October 2013 to review the policy and make amendments. The policy was reviewed by a committee on 9th of October and 7th of November 2013. The policy was presented to the staff on 24th of October 2013. The policy was presented to the Board of Management on 11th of November 2013.

Our School Philosophy and ethos in relation to SPHE

The school’s ethos is best expressed, helped to develop and enriched as a result of the continuing interaction between a shared dialogue on its core values (involving the Patron, Board of Management, Principal, Staff, Parents and Pupils) and the daily practices which endeavour to embody these values. Ethos is established and sustained by repeated practices and traditions, by the beliefs and attitudes promoted and by the goals aspired to by the school community. (Management Board Members’ Handbook, 2000, p. 5).

St. Colmcille’s Boys’ National School, Swords aims to provide a caring, learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s potential.
As a Catholic school, the following characteristics will be sought within the general ethos experienced and promoted by the school community:

  • The school aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil
  • Religious education is provided for the pupils in accordance with the doctrine and tradition of the  Catholic Church
  •   The pupils are prepared for the reception of the sacraments of first confession, first holy communion and confirmation
  • The liturgical seasons are part of the rhythm of the school year
  • The children are given opportunities to participate in liturgical celebrations
  • The school identifies itself with the parish of St Colmcille, Swords.
  •  The school aims at fostering a sense of community between management, teachers, ancillary staff, parents and pupils
  • A spirit of mutual respect is promoted within the school community
  • The school’s code of behaviour reflects the Christian values promoted within the school, with an emphasis on reconciliation, new beginnings and hope.
  •  The teachers aim at making the school a place where high professional standards are maintained and where pupils can learn in a safe and happy environment
  •  The school recognises the value and dignity of each person

Definition of RSE

Relationships and Sexuality Education is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding, and of developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. RSE aims to help children learn, at home and in school, about their own development and 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.

The RSE programme aims to provide opportunities for children and young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and acting in a moral, caring and responsible way.

Relationship of RSE to SPHE

RSE is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education and must be taught in this context. RSE and SPHE will be taught throughout the school from infants to sixth class in a spiral curriculum. RSE will be taught formally and informally to children through a caring and supportive school atmosphere.

(c.f., S.P.H.E. policy)

Current provision for RSE

  • RSE Programme
  •  The Stay Safe Programme
  • Walk Tall Programme
  • RSE facilitator (ACCORD)
  •  North Western Health Board (Teacher Books and Workbooks)
  • First Steps (Junior and Senior Infants)
  • Up and Away (1st and 2nd Class)
  • Out and About (3rd and 4th Class)
  • Look After Yourself (5th and 6th Class)
  •   Health – Prim. Ed. worksheets and information sheets (Lower, Middle and Upper)
  •  Bullying – Prim. Ed. Worksheets and information sheets (Lower, Middle and Upper)
  •  Bí Folláin
  • School Code of Behaviour

The aims of our RSE Programme

  • to promote the personal development and well-being of the child
  • to foster in the child a sense of care and respect for himself/herself and others and an appreciation of the dignity of every human being
  • to promote the health of the child and provide a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects
  • to enable the child to make informed decisions and choices about the social, personal and health dimensions of life both now and in the future
  • to develop in the child a sense of social responsibility, a commitment to active and participative citizenship and an appreciation of the democratic way of life
  • to enable the child to respect human and cultural diversity and to appreciate and understand the interdependent nature of the world.

Guidelines for the management and organisation of RSE in our school  

  • RSE is an integral part of the SPHE programme and will be taught in this context. The curriculum is spiral in nature and has been planned on a two year cycle. All content and objectives, including RSE, will be covered over a two year period. Teachers will be provided with an overview each year indicating strands and strand units to be covered. Lesson plans and resources will also be made available to teachers.
  • RSE will be taught throughout the school in formal lessons and discrete time and as an integrated approach across relevant subject areas.
  • Since the parents are the primary educators of their children, the school will provide them with opportunities to contribute to the development and implementation of RSE.
  • Among the opportunities envisaged are:
  • Participating in school review and planning of the programme
  • Supporting teachers in implementing particular aspects of the programme
  • discussing the learning that takes place in the school
  • reviewing resources for specific aspects of the programme.
  • RSE for 6th classes will be partially provided by ACCORD for one day a year. Parents will be informed prior to this presentation by ACCORD. The classroom teacher will be present in the classroom with any outside speaker. Sensitive issues discussed during the day may be revisited by the class teacher during the following weeks using Resource Materials for Relationships and Sexuality Education (published by the Dept. Of Education and Skills) as a guideline. In the event of issues arising that may not be discussed in the classroom, a further letter will be sent to parents explaining that issues arose, which may need to be discussed at home.
  • Multi-grade classes will be not separated into their age groups for the teaching of RSE.  An exception will be made in a 5th/6th multi-grade class on the day of the Accord speaker.  Other multi-grade classes will be taught as one class group.
  • Since RSE is an integral part of the SPHE curriculum, parents will not be asked to sign a permission slip to allow their child to attend lessons. Where parents wish to take their child out of the lessons on the sensitive issues, a school can ask them to put this in writing. Arrangements can then be made for parents to withdraw children from the classroom for the duration of that lesson.
  • RSE will be taught on Thursdays at 1.00pm.


It isthe responsibility of the Board of Management to support and facilitate the school approach to SPHE and RSE, and to approve this approach within the context of the overall school plan.

We recognise that our school has a supportive role to that of the home and we have a commitment to ensuring that:

  • Our teachers have access to in-career development opportunities
  • Relevant teaching materials are provided.

Review and Evaluation Procedures

The implementations of this policy will be monitored by the Board of Management at the appropriate time. It will also be referred by the principal for consideration by the full staff at the same time.

This policy will be reviewed regularly in the light of experience. It will be reviewed by the full staff and the Board of Management every three years. Any staff member, board member, parent, guardian or student who is unhappy with the content or the implementation of any school policy may request a review at any time and such a request will be dealt with as quickly as possible. The next review of this policy will occur before or during the school year 2016.

Responsibility for Review  

  • RSE Sub-Committee
  • Representatives of the staff
  • Representatives of The Parents’ Association
  • the Board of Management

Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 11 November 2013. It was uploaded to the website on 18 November 2013.


Overview of SPHE scheme

Themes to be covered during year one…

  1. Myself: Self Identity [RSE, Walk Tall, NWHB, Bí Folláin]
  2. Myself: Taking Care of My Body [RSE, Walk Tall, NWHB]
  • Health and well-being
  • Knowing about my body
  1. Myself: Safety and Protection [Stay Safe]
  • Personal Safety
  1. Myself and Others: My Family [RSE, Walk Tall, NWHB]
  2. Myself and the Wider World: Media Education [Walk Tall, Bí Folláin]
  3. Myself and the Wider World: Developing Citizenship [Walk Tall, NWHB, Bí Folláin]
  • Environmental Care
  • Living in the Local Community

Themes to be covered during year two…

  1. Myself: Growing and Changing [RSE, Walk Tall, Bí Folláin]
  • As I Grow I Change
  • New Life
  • Feelings and Emotions
  1. Myself and Others: My Friends [RSE, Walk Tall, NWHB]
  2. Myself and Others: Relating to Others [RSE, Walk Tall, NWHB]
  3. Myself and the Wider World: Developing Citizenship [Walk Tall, Bí Folláin]
  • My School and the Wider Communities

5.  Myself: Safety and Protection

  • Safety Issues [Be Safe!, Walk Tall, RSE, NWHB, Bí Folláin]
  • Personal Safety (Stay Safe Programme)

6. Myself: Taking Care of my Body [RSE, Walk Tall, Bí Folláin]

  • Food and Nutrition