RSE Policy

Deerpark C.B.S. is a Catholic Boys Secondary School serving the Southside since 1828.

1.         School Ethos

Respect by all and for all is the cornerstone of our ethos.  Pupils at the school are expected to respect the dignity of other pupils and staff in the school and in turn have the right to expect that their dignity will be respected.

2.         What is R.S.E.

R.S.E. promotes a healthy attitude towards self and others, particularly in the area of sexuality and relationships.

3.         R.S.E. and S.P.H.E.

The Draft Guidelines for RSE (NCCA, June 1995, 1.2) state that Social

Personal and Health Education is developmental in nature and that it is age appropriate in content and methodology”. The RSE programme is designed to follow this principle and pattern. Apart from the specific lessons of RSE, SPHE covers other areas which would be pertinent to the development of a healthy attitude to sexuality in oneself and one’s relationship with others. SPHE deals with many issues such as self esteem, assertiveness, communication and decision making skills – all of which can contribute to the effectiveness of the RSE programme.

4.         The aims of our R.S.E. programme

  1. to help pupils understand and develop friendships and relationships
  2.  to promote an understanding of sexuality
  3. to promote a positive attitude to one’s own sexuality and relationships with others
  4. to promote knowledge of and respect for reproduction
  5. to enable pupils to develop attitudes and values toward their sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework in keeping with the ethos of the school
  6. to provide opportunities for pupils to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a Catholic, moral, caring and responsible manner.

It is acknowledged that in a course of limited duration these aims are aspirational.

The school also references the DES pamphlet on ‘RSE, going forward together,’ (1977), copies available from RSE, Training Support Services in Schools, Education Centre, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.

The Usborne book on Understanding The Facts of Life is a very good reference book and guide for students and parents, and is available in bookshops.

5.         Guidelines for the management and organisation of R.S.E. in Deerpark C.B.S.

Arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme and the deployment of staff will be made by the Principal.

5.1       Informing and Involving Parents:

Parents are the primary educators of their children especially with regard to relationships and sexuality education. This policy has been designed in consultation with Parents’ Association and the views expressed by parents will be taken into account when reviewing the policy. A copy of this policy will be made available to any parent on request.

5.2       Offering Advice:

The function of the school is to provide a general education about sexual matters and not to offer individual advice, information or counselling on aspects of sexual behaviour and contraception.  However sources of professional information and advice will be identified where appropriate.

5.3       Explicit Questions:

It may not be appropriate to deal with some explicit questions in class. Teachers may choose to say that it is not appropriate to deal with that question at this time. If a teacher becomes concerned about a matter that has been raised he/she should seek advice from the SPHE co-ordinator, the school counsellor or the Principal. When deciding whether or not to answer questions the teacher should consider the age and readiness of the students, the RSE programme content, the ethos of the school and the RSE policy.

5.4       Confidentiality:

5.4.1   It is school policy that in circumstances where a pupil is considered at some risk of any type of abuse or in breach of the law, the teacher must refer this concern immediately to the Principal. The Principal will decide whether to inform the parents and/or appropriate authorities and may arrange for counselling.

5.4.2   The Child Protection Guidelines for Post Primary schools state.

If a member of staff receives an allegation or has a suspicion that a child may have been abused, or is being abused, or is at risk of abuse he/she should, without delay, report the matter to the Designated Liaison Person, The Principal,  in that school. A written record of the report should be made and placed in a secure location by the Designated Liaison Person. The need for confidentiality at all times, as previously referred to in Chapter 1 Paragraph 1.2 of these guidelines, should be borne in mind. The supports of the school should continue to be made available to the child. (4.1.1)

If the DLP is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion or allegation he/she should report the matter to the relevant health board immediately. (4.2.1)

5.5       The division between biological and non biological aspects of sex education:

Aspects of human Biology are covered in Junior Certificate Science and Leaving Cert Biology classes and the LCA Social & Health Programmes.

Issues such as over population and birth control are met in a minor way in subjects such as Geography and RE. However, as any discussion is limited and set within the context of the other subject concerned, it does not constitute part of the RSE Programme.

5.6       Withdrawing pupils from the RSE programme:

Parents will always be given the option of withdrawing their child from sensitive aspects of R.S.E.

Parents do not have to give reasons for withdrawal, but we respectfully invite them to do so – sometimes we can then resolve misunderstandings.

Once a parent’s request to withdraw in writing is made, that request must be complied with until revoked by the parent. (See also appendix 1)

5.7       Guest Speakers

It is school policy that most of the RSE programme is best discussed openly with teachers who are known and trusted by the pupils. However visitors can enhance the quality of the provision as long as they are used in addition to, not instead of a planned programme of RSE.

5.8       Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation will be discussed during a programme of sex education. Discussion can present opportunities to correct false ideas, assumptions and address prejudice.  Discussion of these matters will be appropriate to the age of the pupils.

5.9         Sexual Health

This topic will be dealt with in an age appropriate, open and non-directive way. The Catholic Ethos of the school will be respected.

5.10    Student Needs

Some students may need more help than others in coping with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up. They may also need more help in learning what types of behaviour are and are not acceptable.  They may need sensitive advice regarding abuse or abusive behaviour.  Teachers involved in the R.S.E. Programme will be sensitive and alert to these needs.

6.         Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the RSE programme:

We are committed to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of this Programme, through pupil, parental and staff feedback.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management in March 2009.

The next review is scheduled for 2010 – 2011 academic year.

Appendix 1

What we do if a request for withdrawal from the RSE programme is made by a parent:

a)         We discuss the nature of the concerns with the child’s parent and if appropriate attempt to reassure them (initially such discussion takes place at a meeting with the Class Teacher and SPHE Co-ordinator, the Principal may become involved if necessary)
b)         We consider whether the programme can be amended or improved in away that will reassure parents – care will be taken not to undermine the integrity of the RSE programme and the entitlement of the other pupils,
c)         We attempt to ensure that where a pupil is withdrawn that there is no disruption to other elements of their education,
d)         We should point out that pupils who have been withdrawn are vulnerable to teasing.
e)         We should also point out that pupils may receive inaccurate information from their peers;
f)          We will offer the parents access to appropriate information and resources.