Polasaí SPHE

Polasaí SPHE







Definition of S.P.H.E., how it links with the school ethos


  • ‘Social, personal and health education (SPHE) provides students with a unique opportunity to develop skills and competencies to learn about themselves and to care for themselves and others and to make informed decisions about their health, personal lives and social development.’ (Department of Education and Science, 2000)


  • ‘SPHE provides the dedicated space and time where students can further develop knowledge and understanding, values and attitudes and the life skills they need to live healthy lives and to contribute positively to the health and well being of others and their communities.’ (Social, Personal and Health Education (Senior Cycle – draft curriculum framework); NCCA.)


  • In SPHE health is understood as a multi-dimensional concept – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.


The aims of S.P.H.E.


  • To enable the students to develop skills for self-fulfilment and living in communities
  • To promote self-esteem and self- confidence
  • To enable students to develop a framework for responsible decision-making
  • To provide opportunities for reflection and discussion
  • To promote physical, mental and emotional health and well-being


The above aims of S.P.H.E. contribute to the overall aims of Colaiste Ailigh School in promoting the holistic development of our students.

School recognises that the primary responsibility for the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of children lies with their parents. However the school has a long tradition of supporting parents in this role.


Whole School


  • SPHE needs to be supported by a systemic, whole-school approach which provides opportunities for mastery and success, nurtures warm accepting relationships with students and their families, develops protocols for observing and referring students who are troubled and encourages students to remain in education.
  • ‘The processes of all teaching and learning have implications for personal and social development.’ (Department of Education and Science, 2000)
  • Critical features for a whole school approach include:
  • Positive (good) staff –student  relationships;
  • staff development/ education;
  • strong leadership, with clear discipline policies;
  • teamwork;
  • focus on skills, attitudes and values (nor just facts and information);
  • active involvement of parents, local communities and relevant local agencies.



Programme content


The curriculum for S.P.H.E. JC is presented in ten modules, each of which appears in each year of the three year cycle as outlined below.

The emphasis will be on developing skills, understanding, attitudes and values important to all these areas.



Module Year One Year Two Year Three
Belonging and Integrating Coping with Change

Joining a new group

Appreciating Difference

Bullying is everyone’s business

Coping with Loss

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Group work

Family ties

Goal Setting for Third Year

Work Contract

Self Management Organising Myself

Organising my work at home and at school

Balance in my life

What motivates me?

Study Skills

Organising my time

Planning for effective study

Coping with examinations

Communication Skills Express yourself

Learning to listen

Passive, Assertive and aggressive communication

Assertive communication Learning to communicate

Communication in situations of conflict

Physical Health Body Care

Healthy Eating


Body Care and Body Image Physical exercise



Friendship Making New Friends

A Good Friend

The changing nature of friendship Boyfriends and Girlfriends
Relationships and Sexuality Me as Unique and Different


Changes at Adolescence

The Reproductive System

Images of Male and Female

Respecting myself and others

From conception to birth

Recognising and expressing feelings and emotions

Peer pressure and other influences

Managing relationships

Making responsible decisions

Health and Personal safety including STI’s

Body Image

Where am I now?

Relationships – what’s important

The three R’s: respect, rights and



Emotional Health Recognising Feelings

Respecting My Feelings and the Feelings of Others

Self Confidence

Body image


Feelings and Moods

Influences and Decisions My Heroes Positive and negative influences

Making decisions

Making a good decision
Substance Use Why use drugs?

Alcohol: the facts

Smoking and its effects

Smoking: why, why not?

The effects of drugs

Alcohol and its effects

Alcohol: why, why not?

Cannabis and its effects

Cannabis: why, why not?

Ecstasy; the realities

Heroine: the realities

Personal Safety Looking after myself Accidents at home

Feeling threatened

Recognising unsafe situations


Help agencies

The Dept. of Ed. and Skills recognises that each school has flexibility within this framework to plan the SPHE programme most suitable for the students and the school



  • Mental Health
  • Substance Use
  • RSE (Mandatory)
  • Gender Studies
  • Physical Activity and Nutrition


Senior Cycle SPHE  Department Plan



Mission & Ethos of Centre/School
Programme and Level
Programme Aims & Objectives
Co-ordinator :





Curriculum & Guidelines
Time Allocation
Student Access
Special Needs
Cross curricular planning and links
Subject plan yearly and curricular content
Teaching Methodologies
Homework/task & Assessment
Record Keeping and Reporting
Teacher in-service and continuous professional development
Staff inservice
Evaluation and review



Class Plan :





Mental Health



Substance Use



Physical Activity & Nutrition



Gender Studies






S.P.H.E. JC is allocated two class periods (37 mins) a week for 1st years, 2nd years and 3rd years and will be taught in the context of the Mission Statement of Colaiste Ailigh.


RSE at Senior Cycle will be allocated a minimum of 2 class periods per year group. Every effort will be taken to ensure cross curricular links are availed of and planned.



“It is the responsibility of all schools to contribute to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through curricular provision. In that context the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme is a mandatory part of the curriculum for all students in primary schools and in the junior cycle of post-primary schools and must be fully implemented. All post-primary schools are also required to have a Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme at senior cycle.


“All ten modules of the post-primary SPHE programme delivered in Junior Cycle contribute towards the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of the young person. The modules on personal safety, emotional health, and relationships and sexuality are particularly relevant to child welfare and protection.”


Page 8 2011 Child Protection Procedures

In relation to child sexual abuse, it should be noted that, for the purposes of the criminal law, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 17 years for boys and girls. An Garda Síochána will deal with the criminal aspects of the case under the relevant legislation.

2.1.6 In all cases where a school becomes aware of underage sexual intercourse the school should take appropriate steps to inform the child’s parents.


P 16 2011 Child Protection Procedures





The Equal Status Act, 2000 and the Equality Act, 2004 prohibit discrimination across nine grounds, including sexual orientation.  The post-primary RSE Curriculum Guidelines include the subject of sexual orientation.

“Teachers do not promote any one life-style as the only acceptable one for society One of the advantages of exploring issues concerning homosexuality is the opportunity to correct false ideas, assumptions and address prejudice. Discussion of homosexuality should be appropriate to the age of the pupils”.



The post-primary RSE Curriculum Guidelines state that the subject of family planning should be covered within the Senior Cycle RSE programme.

The school can use it’s discretion with regard to the age at which students receive any aspect of the RSE programme e.g. SPHE or RE teachers might decide to provide some information on contraception to students earlier than Senior Cycle. 


Age of students

Maturity level of students

RSE curriculum and teaching materials

School Ethos

School’s RSE Policy

Safety of teacher

Staff development, training and resource issues.


The value placed on S.P.H.E. by this school is evident by the commitment on the part of management to develop a core of trained S.P.H.E. teachers. In-Career development is an integral part of this programme. Management are responsible for responding to the relevant needs of S.P.H.E. teachers for training. As part of core curriculum S.P.H.E. will have a budgetary allocation in line with its stage of development, its teaching methodologies and timetabled allocation. The school management is committed to the appointment of an approved S.P.H.E. Co-ordinator.


The contribution of the SPHE teacher includes:

  • The perspective of a reflected and reflective life experience
  • A degree of maturity and personal development
  • An interest in and a concern for others
  • Skills for group facilitation and classroom management
  • An understanding of the social context in which the school is set
  • An understanding of adolescence and adolescents
  • An understanding of curriculum and the ability to structure learning experiences within that context
  • An awareness of the boundaries of their own expertise

SPHE Subject Department as Vehicle for Subject Planning


  • Collaborate & support one another in sharing of good practice
  • Establish common purpose and direction in teaching SPHE
  • Plan for teaching
  • Review subject needs
  • Co-ordinate assessment practices
  • Manage resources effectively
  • Ensure continuity and progression in subject learning
  • Grouping of students


Areas to be addressed in SPHE Subject Plan

  • Student access to SPHE
  • Class organisation
  • Range of resources
  • Supporting students with special needs
  • Cross-curricular planning
  • Health & Safety
  • Assessment
  • Record keeping procedures
  • Reporting procedures
  • Student access to SPHE (core subject at JC)
  • Class organisation
  • Range of resources
  • Supporting Students with Special Needs
  • Cross-curricular Planning
  • Health & Safety
  • Homework
  • Assessment
  • Record keeping Procedures
  • Reporting


Human Growth and Development

Structure and function of sexual organs, awareness of fertility, methods of family planning, pregnancy and developing foetus, health care during pregnancy, human emotions, relationship between safe sexual practice and stis

Human Sexuality

What it means to be male or female, male and female roles in relationships and in society, awareness and understanding of sexual orientations, issues pertaining to equality, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape including legal issues and help agencies, skill for making sexual choices re sexual activity, attitudes, values and beliefs regarding sexual behaviour in modern society.

Human Relationships

Understanding the nature of peer pressure, skills for resolving conflict, complex nature of love and loving relationships, marriage as a loving commitment, awareness of importance of family life.


Fertility Awareness Develop a deeper awareness and understanding of male and female fertility and an introduction to family planning
Family Planning Develop an awareness of different methods of family planning
Values and Relationships Help students identify what they value in a relationship and think critically about idealised images of relationships presented in the media and other sources.
Personal Integrity Students will consider how affection is expressed in a variety of contexts, how to set boundaries and balance within a relationship in a way that protects personal integrity and respect for one’s own sexuality.
Responsible Parenthood Using models of decision-making, students explore implications and consequences of pregnancy and parenthood for both male and female. Consider factors which impede responsible decision making such as alcohol and drugs, lack of assertiveness etc…
Sexually Transmitted Infections Students will gain an understanding of the nature of STIS with reference also to AIDS, how STIS are contracted and the importance of early medical intervention and location of appropriate medical support. Issues of discrimination might be addressed here also.
Sexual Harassment Develop an awareness of and skills for dealing with all forms of sexual harassment in a variety of contexts.
Gender Orientation Examine some issues concerned with and attitudes to gender orientation in modern society.
Gender Discrimination Help students understand that the roles assigned to people in life situations are coloured by our stereotyped views of what it is to be male and female. This might include issues of gender discrimination, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and pornography.
Personal Rights and Personal Safety Students will reflect on the right to privacy and their own space, and the consequences when privacy and space are invaded. Students should understand the invasion of personal integrity and the issues of power and control involved in abuse and rape. Help agencies are also identified.
Making, Keeping and Ending Relationships Students will take steps towards developing and enhancing the skills necessary for making, keeping and ending relationships.
Love is Students explore the concept of love and the importance of love in its various aspects such as closeness, intimacy, distance, pleasure and commitment.
Commitment and Marriage Students look at the various elements of marriage which help support lifelong love and friendship

Teacher of RSE




Teacher should be familiar with the RSE Policy before undertaking this work and the teaching of RSE Programme be informed by the Policy




Students are respected and valued. Atmosphere relaxed and informal




Use of appropriate language and non-judgmental tone by the teacher. Language of encouragement and student input reinforced where possible




Teacher comfortable with a range of topics. Students see teacher as genuine and authentic. Teachers communicate an openness to students’ own opinions and ideas. Teacher and students develop ground rules for classroom management which are agreed and monitored.




Teacher supported by inservice training on a continuous basis. Teachers need training in the various aspects of human sexuality and to be at ease with their own sexuality.




Teachers need to be familiar with the RSE Programme and materials and EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Methodologie consensual sexual activity involving an adult and an underage person.



Teachers need to have a clear plan for the SPHE  Programme  and RSE at Senior Cycle re what is done and when with each year group.  SPHE/RSE Evaluation should be ongoing.  It comes under whole school evaluation. Programme evaluation should take place regularly and include cross curricular links.  Teachers  recognise and use assessment for learning methods.


Core Aspects of RSE:


  • To be taught in the context of SPHE at Junior Cycle and all schools required to teach RSE Programme at Senior Cycle
  • Need for a policy on RSE
  • Spiral and developmental programme which starts in primary school
  • All elements of the programme (see NCCA Curriculum guidelines) must be taught

Circular 0023/2010


To Chairpersons of Boards of Management and Principals of all Post-Primary Schools

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) & Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

Best Practice Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools



The Department of Education and Science wishes to advise management authorities of the necessity to adhere to best practice guidelines in the mandatory implementation of SPHE/RSE in the junior cycle and RSE in the senior cycle.

National and international research has consistently shown that the qualified classroom teacher is the best placed professional to work sensitively and consistently with students and that s/he can have a powerful impact on influencing students’ attitudes, values and behaviour in all aspects of health education.


The SPHE/RSE programme should have a substantial skills development element and should not merely be information based. Such skills are developed over time and founded on an ongoing relationship based on trust, understanding and mutual respect.


Young people flourish in an environment where there is the holistic a whole-school approach to growth of students and where there is a shared belief in their potential for development, learning and wellbeing.



The Education Act (1998) states that:

A recognised school shall promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents, having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school.


School management, principals and teachers have a duty to provide the best quality and most appropriate social, personal and health education for their students. They also have a duty to protect students in their care at all times from any potentially harmful, inappropriate or misguided resources, interventions or programmes.


VISITORS TO POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS: GUIDELINES If schools wish to enhance or supplement SPHE/RSE by inviting visitors to the classroom precise criteria must apply. Outside facilitators who contribute to the SPHE/RSE programme can play a valuable role in supplementing, complementing and supporting a planned, comprehensive and established SPHE/RSE programme. Any such visitor or visiting group should adhere to the guidelines of good practice as set out in the SPHE Handbook Section 7 and which are condensed herewith:


  • Visitors to the classroom or school, particularly those engaging directly with students, should be aware of relevant school policies including the school’s child protection policy, RSE policy and substance misuse policy. Any such visit must be carefully planned in advance in line with the relevant whole-school SPHE/RSE programme(s) and policies.


  • Talks/programmes delivered by outside agencies or speakers must be consistent with and complementary to the school’s ethos and SPHE/RSE programme. Visits should be planned, researched and implemented in partnership with school personnel.


  • Relevant teachers need to liaise with and be involved with all visitors and external agencies working with the school and the whole staff needs to be made aware of same.
  • It is strongly recommended that parents should be consulted and made aware of any such visiting people or agencies to classrooms / schools.


  • The school’s SPHE/RSE coordinator may also help in the process of whole-school planning and coordination to support the effective implementation of SPHE/RSE.


  • It is of the utmost importance that classroom teachers remain in the classroom with the students and retain a central role in delivery of the core subject matter of the SPHE/RSE programme. The presence of the classroom teacher should ensure that the school follows appropriate procedures for dealing with any issue(s) that may arise as a result of the external input(s).


  • All programmes and events delivered by visitors and external agencies must use appropriate, evidence-based methodologies with clear educational outcomes. Such programmes are best delivered by those specifically qualified to work with the young people for whom the programmes are designed.


  • All programmes, talks, interventions and events should be evaluated by students and teachers in terms of the subject matter, messages, structure, methodology and proposed learning outcomes.




Research findings indicate that the following teaching approaches have limited effect and are counterproductive to the effective implementation of SPHE. In light of this, schools are advised to avoid the following approaches:


Scare tactics

Information that induces fear, and exaggerates negative consequences, is inappropriate and counterproductive.


Sensationalist interventions

Interventions that glamorise or portray risky behaviour in an exciting way are inappropriate and can encourage inappropriate risk taking.



Stories focused on previous dangerous lifestyles can encourage the behaviour they were designed to prevent by creating heroes/heroines of individuals who give testimony.


Information only interventions

Programmes which are based on information alone are very limited in the learning outcomes they can achieve and can in fact be counter productive in influencing values, attitudes and behaviour.


Information that is not age appropriate

Giving information to students about behaviours they are unlikely to engage in can be counterproductive in influencing values, attitudes and behaviour.


Once off/short term interventions

Short-term interventions, whether planned or in reaction to a crisis, are ineffective.


Normalising young people’s risky behaviour

Giving the impression to young people, directly or indirectly, that all their peers will engage/are engaging in risky behaviours could put pressure on them to do things they would not otherwise do.

Didactic approach

Didactic approaches which are solely directive in nature are ineffective in the successful implementation of SPHE/RSE.



Information, advice and support is available from the SPHE Support Service which is a partnership between the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Health and Children, and the Health Service Executive, in association with Marino Institute of Education.


SPHE Support Service Tel: (01) 805-7718

Please bring this circular to the attention of teachers and members of the school board of management. This circular may also be accessed at www.education.ie under Education Personnel/Circulars.


Alan Wall

Principal Officer

Teacher Education Section

March 2010



Teaching Methods: How S.P.H.E. will be taught.


Because the programme is primarily skills-based teaching methods must be of an experiential nature with an emphasis on discussion, reflection and classroom participation. These teaching methods will be child centred and appropriate to the age and stage of development of the student. The following are examples of teaching methods that will be used in the SPHE Class:



·         Group Discussion

·         Geographical Voting

·         Brainstorming

·         Role Play

·         Case Studies

·         Artwork

·         Cartoons

·         Narrative expression

·         Games – Icebreakers

·         Games – simulations

·         Debates

·         Project work


·         Sentence Completion

·         Situation Cards

·         Dilemma Boards

·         Visualisation

·         Guided Imagery

·         Sculpting

·         Ranking Exercises

·         Rounds

·         Relaxation

·         Rounds

·         Multi-media / video

·         Visitors


The class atmosphere must be one of respect for the privacy of the individual and hallmarked by sensitivity and care.

Text books and Resources



The three core resource materials as outlined in JC SPHE Guidelines are available in the SPHE Press. These are:

  1. The 5 books OM2F of the Substance Use Prevention Programme Pack i.e Understanding Influences, Identity and Self Esteem, Decision Making, Assertive Communication, Feelings and the additional book Consequences.
  2. NWHB Resources: Healthy Living, Healthy Times, Healthy Choices.
  3. JC RSE Resource Materials book.


SPHE JC Curriculum and Guidelines:

RSE Policy

Substance Use Policy

Anti bullying Policy

Child Protection Guidelines

Student workbook



Additional JC Resources:

Busy Body DVD and booklet

WIT Under the Influence Resource and DVD

Cancer awareness pack

WTO Resource

Breast feeding resource


RSE Senior Cycle Resources:

RSE SC Resource Materials Book

Trust Resource and DVD

Leaflets and Booklets from Crisis Pregnancy Agency RSE Policy

Substance Use Policy

Anti bullying Policy

Child Protection Guidelines

Facts DVD

B4UDecide Resources


Planning for students with special needs


A selection of the following resources will be available in the school for students with learning difficulties:

Chalkface resources available from www.chalkface.ie


The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s ‘Guidelines for Teachers of Students With General Learning Disabilities’ contains comprehensive guidelines on teaching SPHE to students with mild general learning disabilities at primary and post-primary level, and to students with moderate and severe and profound general learning disabilities.

Available from NCCA, 24 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Tel 01 661 7177. www.ncca.ie Email: info@ncca.ie


The Department of Education and Science does not endorse the use of any of the resources listed below. It is the responsibility of those using additional resources for RSE to ensure that the content is appropriate to the needs of the school, in line with school policy and suitable for school programmes as outlined by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.


  • RSE Resource Materials
  • ‘Talking Together About Sex and Relationships.’ A practical resource for schools and parents working with young people with learning disabilities. Leslie Kerr Edwards and Lorna Scott.  Go to: fpa.org.uk, click on ‘Shop’ then on A-Z of publications
  • Sexuality and Learning Disability: A Resource for Staff. Claire Fanstone and Zarine Katrak Go to: fpa.org.uk, click on ‘Shop’, then on A-Z of publications.
  • ‘Lets Do It.’ Creative activities for sex education for young people with learning difficulties. Over 80 drama based activities developed by Image in Action. Johns, L. Scott and J. Bliss. Go to: www.imageinaction.org and click on ‘Resources’
  • ‘Living Your Life.’ A sex education and personal development resource for special educational needs. A. Craft. Brook Publications. Go to: www.brook.org.uk and click on ‘Publications’
  • ‘Becoming a Woman’ A teaching pack on menstruation for people with learning disabilities. Emma Cooper, Pavilion. Go to: pavpub.com, click on ‘Training Materials’, then on ‘Learning Disability’.
  • ‘Talk To Me’ A personal development manual for women and girls with Down syndrome, and their parents. Free download available from: dsanw.org.au and enter ‘Talk To Me’ into Search
  • Body Board. Go to: headonltd.co.uk and click on ‘Products’
  • ‘How Did I Begin’ Picture book with simple explanation of how babies are made. Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom. Franklin Watts ISBN 978-0-7496-5661-4 Available from bookshops.
  • Anatomically correct boy and girl dolls are available from Findel Education Limited, Unit 11 Naas Road Business Park, Dublin Tel 01 427 3100


  • RSE Related Materials
  • ‘Stay Safe’ Personal Safety Skills for Children with Learning Difficulties. Go to staysafe.ie
  • ‘People Skills for Young Adults with a Mild Learning Disorder’ Go to: chalkface.com and click on ‘PSHE’
  • ‘Talkabout Relationships’ Building self esteem and relationship skills. Alex Kelly, Speechmark. Available from ‘Outside the Box’. Go to otb.ie and go to ‘Product Search’


  • Resources for Parents
  • Talking Together About Growing Up’ A workbook for parents of children with learning disabilities. Lorna Scott and Lesley Kerr Edwards. Go to: fpa.org.uk, click on ‘Shop’, then on ‘A-Z of Publications’
  • ‘How Did I Begin’ (see above)
  • ‘Lets Talk About Where Babies Come From’ Robbie H Harris, Walker For parents and carers who wish to talk to children aged 8-12 about sex relationships and growing up. Available from bookshop


Cross-curricular links

Various subjects will address themes in SPHE/RSE at different stages and this will be planned for by having a co-ordinated approach and consulting the relevant teacherse.g. The Science and H.Ec teachers may also be addressing the reproductive system in class at the time RSE is being taught in SPHE. The religion teacher and English teachers may cover death and loss as coping with change is being covered in SPHE.


Year Group:

Subject Science Art RE H.Ec English Guidance CSPE Geography Business P.E. Music Other
Belonging and Integrating                        
Self Management                        
Communication Skills                        
Physical Health                        
Relationships and Sexuality                        
Emotional Health                        
Influences and Decisions                        
Substance Use                        
Personal Safety                        


We need to assess that the knowledge, attitudes, values and personal development of our students are developed in SPHE lessons.

Questions to focus on:

  • Are students progressing in their knowledge of health issues, community issues, school issues?
  • Do they have personal values and beliefs of their own but are never the less thoughtful about those of others?
  • Do they stand by their principles and assert their points of view effectively?
  • Do they demonstrate the ability to listen to others, present an argument and resolve differences?
  • Do they work well with their peers and others in a range of different situations and develop good inter-personal skills.
  • Work may consist of written tasks, home tasks, discussion tasks, art tasks, e.g. making collages.
  • Students’ folders will be marked for evidence of effort/thinking skills/group work etc and will have written comments.
  • Assessment of SPHE aims to help students to take responsibility for improving their own learning and performance.
  • We want our students to make good life choices with far-reaching consequences.

Reports will be made to parents of a student’s ability to:

  • Take responsibility
  • Contribute to school life
  • Demonstrate an awareness of topical issues

Using a wide range of assessment tools will give teachers greater resources on which to base reporting. Good practice in reporting on SPHE include:

  1. Outcome of the module taught during the term/reporting period.
  2. Evidence of the degree to which the student achieved the outcomes
  • Suggestions for how the student might improve in the next module

Sensitive issues/Participation

S.P.H.E. is a core curricular subject on the Junior Cycle Curriculum. Relationships and Sexuality is one module of the Programme. Each parent has the right to withdraw their child from some or all R.S.E. classes but are encouraged to provide alternative R.S.E. at home. It will be necessary for parents of any student opting out of R.S.E. to make suitable arrangements with school Management for the welfare of their child at these times.


Where children are withdrawn from R.S.E. the school cannot take responsibility for any versions of school content passed onto them by other students.


Class discussion will be of a general nature and will not be personally directed in accordance with the previously agreed class ground rules.

Inappropriate questions will not be answered by a teacher or from student to student. Only questions directly pertinent to the lesson content will be addressed in class.


While it is acknowledged that teachers have a professional responsibility to impart the S.P.H.E. course content, the needs of our students will be addressed in a caring and supportive manner. Where it is appropriate, the teacher will refer students to other supportive links or services internal or external to the school community. As far as possible this should be done in negotiation with the student.




While an atmosphere of trust is a pre-requisite of S.P.H.E. class, the legal limits of confidentiality must always be observed. These limits are:


  • Child abuse
  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  • Sexual
  1. Neglect


  • Intention to harm self or others.


Where possible students should be informed of these limits before making a disclosure.

The Role of Visitors

Visiting speakers are seen as complimenting and supporting the S.P.H.E. programme in the school. Teachers inviting these speakers must:


  • Inform the Principal in advance.


  • Make the speaker aware of the ethos and S.P.H.E. policy of the school.


  • Agree the content of the presentation in advance.


  • Do preparatory and follow-up work where possible.


  • Teacher remain with the class group during the visit.


Best practice suggests that school-based, teacher-led programmes are more effective in health education and health promotion than short-term, topic-based, external interventions. An over-reliance on visitor expertise can inhibit the commitment of a school to implement SPHE and can disempower teachers.



How parents and students will be informed.

Present Junior Cycle students will be informed of this policy through their S.P.H.E. class. Parents of these students will be informed by letter with their son’s/daughter’s Summer Report. Thereafter, the outline of the S.P.H.E. programme (Appendix A) and a summary of the policy will be given to parents of incoming students.



How Staff will be informed.

This plan will be available for all staff in the school by its inclusion with the Policy Documents, which are kept in the Principal’s office. Copies will be given to each S.P.H.E. teacher by the Co-ordinator.


How the S.P.H.E. programme and policy will be reviewed and  evaluated.

The S.P.H.E. programme will be reviewed on an annual basis by the S.P.H.E. team. The opinions of the students will be included as part of this review.


The S.P.H.E. policy will be reviewed in line with the school’s programme of School Development Planning.


The SPHE programme will be evaluated and personal reflection encouraged amongst staff and students. We need to know:


  • Is it working?
  • How do we know?
  • If it isn’t working – why?
  • What changes, if any, are necessary?



Record Keeping Procedures:

Good reporting is based on good recording. This may be a record held by either the student or teacher of the student’s work. This may be in a folder or workbook format.

The folder can serve:

  • As a record of work done
  • As a basis for reporting to parents
  • As a source of positive feedback
  • As a basis for student self assessment
  • As a home school link

Schools also need to keep a record of SPHE/RSE inservice training attended by teachers


Teacher Professional Development:

Teachers are facilitated to regularly attend SPHE in-service and upskill themselves. Staff Development days on SPHE themes are also availed of.


Evaluation Tool kit for SPHE


Theme Key Area Focusing Developing Established Advanced
Subject Provision/ whole school support  



Planning and preparation  



Teaching and learning  



Assessment/ monitoring and evaluation  




Staff development