School Name: Cadamstown N.S.
Address: Moyvalley, Co. Kildare.
Tel. No. (046) 9551308.
Representatives of parents, the Board of Management and teachers drew up this policy.
Cadamstown is a small rural school in north Kildare serving a close-knit community.
Parents are very interested in and actively involved in their children’s education and school life in general. The happiness, well being and educational advancement of their children are of central importance to them.
We aim to foster the values of respect, honesty, courtesy, responsibility, tolerance, and consideration for others. We cherish each child as an individual and we strive to develop his spiritual, intellectual, artistic, physical, emotional and social potential. We hope each pupil can live life as a child and we aim to equip him to live a responsible life as an adult. We have committed staff who strive to create an atmosphere where cultural and religious diversity is respected. We recognise parents, as the first and most important educators of their own child. We encourage communication and parental involvement, based on mutual trust and understanding. We aim to enable children to work together in a supportive, respectful partnership within an inclusive school environment, to respect themselves and others and to become an active citizen in society.
The school’s ethos is Catholic (Christian). Loving God and your neighbour as yourself are central to the school’s ethos. Prayer and Christian teaching form a very important part of the school day.
The school aims to build a supportive school environment in which:
(10)Every child makes appropriate educational progress during every one of their years in the school.
(11)The educational attainments of the pupils leaving sixth class are of a level that will enable them to take on the second level programme with ease.
(12)Social, moral and civic values are promoted.
(C) DEFINITION OF R.S.E.
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding, and of developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. This education is delivered formally and informally by parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media. In school, RSE will provide structured opportunities for pupils to acquire a knowledge and understanding of human relationships and sexuality through processes which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework.
This approach gives opportunities for children and young people to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and responsible manner. RSE aims to help children learn, at home and in school, about themselves, their friendships and relationships with others. This work will be based on developing a good self-image, promoting respect for themselves and for others, and providing them with appropriate information.
(D) THE PLACE OF R.S.E. IN THE CURRICULUM
RSE is an integral part of Social, Personal and Health Education and must be taught in this context. SPHE and RSE will be taught throughout the school from infants to sixth class in a spiral curriculum. RSE is also offered informally to pupils through a caring and supportive school atmosphere.
RSE is covered in the following strands;
(2) Strand: Myself and Others
(E) THE AIMS OF OUR R.S.E. PROGRAMME:
(F) GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANISATION OF R.S.E. IN OUR SCHOOL
Children will be taught the programme using a discussion-based methodology in the Social, Personal and Health Education time slot.
This policy has as an appendix an overview of the content of the R.S.E. curriculum. Parents are welcome to call to the school to examine the curriculum in full.
Parents are the primary educators of their children. Schools and teachers exist to help parents in the education of their children. Parents should discuss sensitive topics with their children at home before they are dealt with in school [e.g. the correct names for all body parts (Infants), puberty (5th class) and conception (6th class). Children will only be taught the content that is laid down as being appropriate for their class.
The children’s or teachers’ personal lives or experiences will never be a subject for discussion and everybody should feel at ease with the programme.
Each class teacher will teach the RSE programme including the sensitive issues unless they choose to opt out. A teacher’s right to opt out from teaching the sensitive issues will be honoured. In this case, arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme will be made by the Principal.
The religious and moral dimensions of human sexuality will always be kept in mind in the teaching of the R.S.E. programme.
The RSE programme will be taught by the class teacher from infants to fourth class. An Accord facilitator will visit the school and present their relationship programme for fifth and sixth class pupils every year. The programme is divided into three one-hour modules.
(G) CURRICULUM CONTENT FOR R.S.E. :
The programme will be available in the school in order that parents may familiarise themselves with the contents. The R.S.E. policy of the school is obliged to indicate the biological terms for parts of the body that will be used and the ages at which they will be introduced:
Mouth – swallowing, chewing food, breathing
Vagina – opening where a baby leaves a mother’s womb
Penis – passing urine
Breasts – feeding a baby
Naval – where baby was joined to mother before being born
Pupils are expected to be able to discuss the stages and sequence of development of the human baby from conception to birth
Identify and explore physical changes at the onset of puberty.
Periods (in the context of personal hygiene and growth from girl to woman).
Understand sexual intercourse, conception and birth within the context of a committed loving relationship.
Children will understand that there are many different types of relationships and family units.
The manner in which all issues are discussed will be with sensitivity, professionalism and an awareness of varying group dynamics within a class.
Pupils are expected to be able to identify and discuss physical and other changes that occur in boys and girls during puberty and to understand the reproductive systems of male and female adults.
Female: a) Hormonal changes b) Changing body shapes c) Development of breasts d) Appearance of pubic hair e) Onset of menstruation (periods) f) Beginning of ovulation.
Male: a) Hormonal changes b) Physical growth c) Growth of testicles and penis d) Appearance of pubic hair, underarm and facial hair e) Breaking of the voice
(H) SENSITIVE ISSUES
Sensitive issues include lessons on naming the body parts (Senior Infants) and their functions (2nd Class); changes in their bodies as they grow and develop and lessons on conception and birth (5th and 6th Class).
Withdrawal of a pupil:
A parent’s right to withdraw a pupil from the process will be honoured on the understanding that the parent is taking full responsibility for this aspect of education.
It is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school in writing of their decision to withdraw and their willingness to cover sensitive issues with their child outside of school hours. A child who has been withdrawn from class for the duration of a discrete RSE lesson will be accommodated in another classroom under the supervision of another teacher. The teacher may need to make incidental reference to the issue at another time while that child is present.
Teachers will teach only the topics laid down for the particular class and will only answer those questions which are relevant to the programme for that year. Questions arising from curriculum content will be addressed in a sensible, sensitive and age-appropriate manner. Should a pupil require information that is not in line with the curriculum content and not considered to be age-appropriate, the school will not give such information and will refer the question back to the parents. Teachers will not answer personal questions about themselves nor require the child to give information of a personal nature.
Language will, at all times, reflect respect for those involved and for educational content. In Cadamstown we will give children the correct and appropriate language to communicate confidently about themselves, their sexuality and their relationships.
The school holds no responsibility for any information which the pupil may receive outside the direct teaching of the RSE lessons.
Outside Speakers: As in the case with all subjects, outside speakers may sometimes be invited to speak to the children on some aspects of R.S.E. The policy of this school will be outlined and care taken to ensure that the guest speaker is aware of the content which would be covered by the class teacher in the areas of growth and development and reproduction. The guest speaker would be required to only cover matters which are currently in our agreed policy.
(I) CHILD PROTECTION
The school follows the “Children First” child protection guidelines and has a Child
Protection Policy with the Principal as the Designated Liaison Person. In cases of disclosure the D.L.P. will follow the procedures as set out in Children First.
(K) ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The whole school community of B.O.M., staff and parents play a key role
in the formulation and implementation of the plan.
This R.S.E. policy will be reviewed every two by the teachers and Board of Management to assess its strengths and weaknesses and to make any appropriate changes.