Policy on Relationships and Sexuality Education
This Policy was ratified by the Board of Management on the 18th September 2018 and is due for review in September 2019. This Policy is a working document and will be monitored by the school management and staff throughout the academic year.
This R.S.E. policy states the aims and objectives of the R.S.E. programme in C.B.S. Westland Row. As with all our policies it is underpinned by the mission statement the ethos of the school and the principles of the E.R.S.T. Charter. This policy has been written in collaboration with the youth workers from the Talk About Youth Project from St. Andrews Resource Centre. This collaboration is a direct result of the strong and meaningful relationship that has developed over many years between the youth workers the school staff and the students. This policy is further supported by the constant work carried out in the school and a series of programmes and strategies that support all of our students.
This policy reflects the input of all our school partners staff ,parents, students the Board of management and the student council. It reflects the broad and varied needs of our students and is a working document. This policy is supported further by the guidance plan the anti bullying policy and our code of conduct. All teachers will be given the necessary training support and resources to carry out this work with the support of the S.P.H.E. co-ordinator and school management. Student and parental feedback will be taken into consideration when assessing the effectiveness of the programme as will the views of all involved.
C.B.S. is a small inner city school based in as area of high social and economic disadvantage. The school is deeply rooted in the local community although increasing numbers of students come from outside the area and a wide range of cultural backgrounds .The strong and positive relationships in our school community are the conerstone of our work. Students are valued for who they are and are encouraged to self-develop in a highly supportive environment .Our system of behaviour management ensures that we are highly inclusive and our range of links with outside agencies ensures that students have knowledge of and the support of many professionals.
The Definition of R.S.E.
Relationships and Sexuality Education is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding and developing attitudes, beliefs, and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. This education is developed consciously and unconsciously by parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media. In the school setting R.S.E. is taught within the context of Social Personal and Health Education, (see N,C.C.S.E.) guidelines. S.P.H.E. looks at issues such as relationships at home and in school, building self esteem and improving skills such as communication, decision making skills and expressing feelings in an appropriate way. It also includes giving clear and relevant information on a range of topics including healthy eating, alcohol. drugs and substance abuse, human growth and development, safety and social responsibility, and environmental issues.
In 1996 the Interim Curriculum and Guidelines (N.C.C.A. 1996) was introduced into post-primary schools with the premise that R.S.E. would be taught within the context of S.P.H.E. A curriculum for S.P.H.E. was introduced in 2000 (D.E.S. Junior Cycle S.P.H.E. Curriculum Framework 2000). Composed of a flexible three year Junior Cycle Programme which incorporates R.S.E. as one of the ten modules. The R.S.E. Interim curriculum and guidelines outline the programme for the senior cycle under three key themes, Human Growth and Development, Human Sexuality and Human Relationships.
The Scope of This Policy
In C.B.S. Westland Row every class teacher and member of the staff is involved in the teaching of and learning about relationships and sexuality. Discussions around these issues take place in many other classrooms. All teachers support the emotional, moral, social and spiritual groth of our students, This policy acknowledges the importance of S.P.H.E. and R.S.E in the context of our whole school approach. It reflects the basis of all our interactions with students both inside and outside the school from the classroom to the pool-hall .Subject specific content at both junior and senior cycle support the R.S.E. and S.P.H.E. programme. A strong programme of guidance Biology and Home Economics support and help students to develop positive healthy relationships while the values of the E.R.S.T. Charter give a clear sense of moral guidance and is strongly supported by all staff.
The school endeavours to provide a wide range of activities, afterschool clubs outings and social events to build student self esteem and confidence. Mentoring and the respect programme and the reading programme also help to give students the opportunity to form meaningful relationships and to develop social skills as required.
The Programme of R.S.E. provided aims to:
- Help young people to make the right decisions.
- To give young people the information they need to make informed choices.
- To clarify information ,dispel myths, challenge attitudes and to provide factual information about relationships and sexuality, sexual behaviour, tobacco, alcohol and drugs relevant to the age group, gender and culture of the young people involved.
- Provide young people with a safe environment in which they can discuss their opinions and attitudes about issues that affect their lives.
C.B.S Westland Row has an added and invaluable support for our students through our strong links with our youth workers. The provision of R.S.E also includes a structural programme facilitated by the youth workers, which is overseen by teachers, in an outside setting where students feel comfortable and safe in discussing issues that are specifically related to their sexuality and sexual activity. This support is carried through from the primary school setting and the programme is delivered by fully trained staff. All students have one class of S.P.H.E at junior cycle and R.S.E is provided at senior cycle by St. Andrews, Religious Education Theme based programme. Many aspects of both the S.P.H.E and R.S.E programme are taught, discussed and addressed during Home Economics, Religion, C.S.P.E, P.E and Science at Junior Certificate level.
The Programme draws on many different programmes for resources
- N.C.C.A Guidelines
- S.P.H.E Programme
- X Hale, Irish Cancer Society
- Parachute Programme
- Getting the Facts, Drink Aware
- B4 u Decide, MCCI Programme
- Let's Talk about Safer Sex, HIV Ireland
- Real Care Parenting Programme, Reality Works
- Squashy Couch
- Busy Bodies
While students enjoy the two pronged approach to R.S.E. (School and St. Andrews) it is up to all parents /guardian to give their consent for the programme provided in St Andrews. Any student without written permission to engage in the programme will be catered for in the school during that time. This policy will be made available to all parents on request and will be put on the school website. Parents will be given a summary of the programme at the parents information evening. Any parent is welcome to come to the school to discuss any concerns of fears they may have in relation to the programme and their child. Parents are the primary educators of their children and their involvement in this and all areas of their children's education is highly valued by the school.
Advice and Confidentiality
The staff at C.B.S. Westland Row and the youth leaders are here to help our young people and to provide a broad and general education in relation to sexual matters and issues. Individual advice, information or counselling on certain aspects of sexual behaviour and sexuality may be referred to outside agencies and or other sources for professional advice. Advice offered should not be directive and should be age appropriate. Due consideration should be given at all times to the child protection guidelines.
Students should not be encouraged to disclose information of a personal nature in an open forum. Group rules regarding group discussion should be outlines and discussed at the start of any class or group activity. Confidentiality should be respected at all times unless a teacher or leader feels or suspects that a child is at risk, at risk of any type of abuse or is in breach of the law. Any such risk or breach must be immediately be referred to the D.L.P. (Designated Liaison Person) in accordance with child protection procedures.