Category: R.S.E.









Donegal Town,

Co. Donegal.

F94 AW95


Telephone :   074 9722752

Fax.           :  074 9722466

E-mail       :

Web          :


Denomination             :  Catholic

Category                     :  Mixed

On roll 30.09.2016     :  225  (109 girls ; 116 boys)









The school aims to prepare pupils for life by enabling them to make the best possible use of their inherent and potential capabilities including physical, mental and spiritual skills. Self esteem is fostered by the valuing of pupils, by a willingness to listen and understand and by a positive view of learning as a shared journey. All achievements are recognised and applauded not just academic attainments.


A spirit of mutual respect and inclusiveness is promoted and pupils are taught to appreciate and respect all people regardless of differences including nationality, religion or disability. The needs and particular circumstances of the pupil are considered at all times. Religious Education is provided for pupils in accordance with the doctrines and traditions of the Catholic Church.


The quality of the relationships between management, teachers, parents and pupils enhances the educational partnership and a sense of community is fostered between them. The importance of parents/guardians as educators of their children is recognised and valued and close contact is maintained between school and home. The school also encourages links with the wider community.

  1. WHAT IS R.S.E. ?



Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.) is a life long process of acquiring knowledge and understanding and developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. This education is delivered consciously and unconsciously by parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media.



It is important when we talk about Relationship and Sexuality Education that we do not mean sex education in the narrow sense, as the mere transmission of the ‘facts of life’. We mean something broader.

Emer Egan a senior Department of Education inspector has defined sexuality as :



“ integral part of the human personality which has many dimensions –

biological, psychological, cultural, social and spiritual. Like all other aspects of personality development it is open to change and development throughout life. It is shaped by a combination of our traits  and experiences to which we are consciously and unconsciously exposed. Sexuality includes all aspects of the human person that relate to being male or female. It is particularly concerned with affectivity, which is the capacity to give and receive love, with procreation and with the aptitude for forming relationships with others.”




The R.S.E. programme will enable children to learn about their own development and about their friendship and relationship with others. It will help them to develop a good self-image, respect for themselves and others. Children will also receive appropriate information relevant to their emotional and intellectual maturity.








Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.) provides the curriculum content for the delivery of R.S.E. as a core subject. The concept of S.P.H.E. is broad and positive.


It provides opportunities for children to develop an understanding of themselves and the ability to make healthy and responsible choices in life. S.P.H.E. cannot be treated through the taught curriculum alone; it is intrinsically linked to many facets of school life and is very important in relationships within the classroom, school, home and community.


The school community provides a very powerful model for supporting what is formally taught. At Scoil an Linbh Íosa we try to build a supportive school climate and culture where:



  • People feel valued
  • Self esteem is fostered
  • Respect, tolerance and fairness are evident
  • High expectations and standards are promoted
  • There is support for those with difficulties
  • Open communication is promoted
  • Effort is recognised and rewarded
  • Uniqueness/difference is valued
  • Conflict is handled constructively
  • Initiative and creativity are encouraged
  • Social, moral and civic values are also promoted




The R.S.E. programme has also cross-curricular links with the religious education programme. It is rooted firmly within the moral and spiritual framework of Grow in Love Religion programme. Strands of the R.S.E. programme are also integrated with Physical and Health Education, Environmental and Scientific Education and the “Stay Safe” programme. It is very important in our school to teach R.S.E. in the context of S.P.H.E because S.P.H.E. gives clear information on a range of topics, including healthy eating, alcohol, drugs, human growth and development, safety, social responsibility and environmental issues.










(i)    Specific Programmes


  • Child Abuse Prevention Programme (known as ‘Stay Safe’)

.   On the introduction of the programme in 1997 now available to all classes

Fás le Chéile (Parenting Programme provided by H.S.E.)


  • Green Schools

A world-wide project designed to encourage and acknowledge whole school                action for the environment.

Awarded our fifth International Green Flag in 2016.

  • Code of Behaviour
  • Anti-bullying Policy.
  • Child Protection Policy.
  • Resources and School Subjects


  • Learning Support teacher has a special relationship with individuals and small groups.
  • Resource teachers support children with learning difficulties on a one-to-one basis.
  • Religious Education

(Grow in Love)

  • Physical Education
  • Social, Environmental and Science Education (SESE)


(iii)  Special Initiatives


  • Garda Siochana Liaison Programme.
    • A designated Garda visits Fifth Class annually to discuss various topics.



  • Inter-school Quiz Nights :

Garda Siochana, Credit Union and Cumann na       mBunscoil

  • Cumann na mBunscoil inter-school football and hurling/camogie competitions.
  • Pioneer Association visits Sixth Class once each month
  • Various community members and parents invited to speak to the children : carpenter, storyteller, Coillte Teo., Donegal Co. Council environment section, Fire Brigade, Chernobyl Project, Missionary priests, Wild Life Ranger, artists.
  • Soccer coaching provided by F.A.I. Regional Development Officer.
  • Rugby coaching provided by Donegal Rugby Club Development Officer
  • Gaelic Football/Hurling/Camogie coaching provided by Donegal County Board.
  • Swimming lessons for Third to Sixth Classes at Millpark Leisure Centre.






R.S.E / S.P.H.E. are provided informally through :


(i)    observation of the School Ethos

(ii)   equal access for girls and boys to all areas of the curriculum

(iii)  observation of the Code of Behaviour







  • To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well being of children.
  • To help young children to develop healthy friendships and relationships.
  • To foster an understanding of a healthy attitude to human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
  • To enable children to acquire an understanding and respect for human love and
  • To develop and promote in children a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life.
  • To enable the children to be comfortable with their sexuality and others while growing and developing.




The R.S.E. programme should help the child  to:


  • acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of oneself
  • develop a positive sense of self-awareness, self-esteem and self worth while also developing an appreciation of the dignity, uniqueness and well being of
  • understand the nature, growth and development of relationships within families and in friendships.
  • be sensitive to different family patterns.
  • come to value family life.
  • develop strategies to make decisions, solve problems and implement actions in various personal, social and health contexts in a moral framework.
  • become aware of the variety of ways in which individuals grow and change and understand that their developing sexuality is an important aspect of self identity.
  • develop personal skills which will help them to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships.
  • develop some coping strategies to protect themselves and others from various forms of abuse.
  • acquire and improve skills of communication and social interaction.
  • acquire and use the developmentally appropriate vocabulary to discuss feelings, sexuality, growth and development.
  • develop a critical understanding of external influences on lifestyles and decision making.





The R.S.E. Programme shall reflect Catholic moral teaching and values on sexual matters. Pupils will be encouraged to look at human relationships in terms of moral truth and not in terms of how one feels. The programme will reflect the fact that what is right and wrong is not a matter of opinion but of reason.


Delivery of the R.S.E. programme is dependent on the emotional and intellectual maturity of the pupils concerned. If individuals are not emotionally or intellectually ready to  deal with sensitive issues such as conception, intercourse and physical changes at puberty there needs to be an adaptation of the programme to suit all of the pupils.  The issues of conception, reproduction and intercourse will not be formally taught prior to fifth class. The  dignity, privacy and modesty of each child must be respected. The R.S.E. programme will not include discussions of specific and/or particular events or circumstances in the individual pupil’s experience. The privacy and confidentiality of all children, families, parents and teachers will be respected.


Parents will be notified of the proposed content of the R.S.E programme and all videos, books and other course material will be made available for viewing by parents. The Principal may invite visiting speakers to address particular classes on any aspect of the programme. Parents will be notified of the proposed content of the speakers address and the books, videos and other materials to be used by the speaker. Parents wishing to withdraw their children from R.S.E. classes or any particular aspect of the R.S.E. class may do so and arrangements for that withdrawal should be made with the Principal.


All teachers are encouraged to participate in teaching the programme. However a teacher may decide to opt out of teaching R.S.E. or particular aspects of it. The Principal will then make alternative provision for teaching the R.S.E. programme to that particular class.





This policy may be reviewed.  If teachers, parents or the Board of Management wish to review the policy then the matters which they wish to have reviewed should be raised with the Policy Committee through their representatives. A  Policy Committee shall remain in existence and members of that committee may be replaced by new members at any time provided that it is always made up of two teacher representatives, two parent representatives and two Board of Management representatives. Any new members to the Policy Committee shall be elected in the same way as the original members or in accordance with the current recommendations of the Department of Education and Science.


The members of the Policy Committee and the teachers should continue to attend all courses provided by the Department giving further information about R.S.E. or available materials. Videos, books and course materials should be ordered by the staff and those materials should be updated as the staff deem necessary.





  1. The formation and membership of the R.S.E.  Policy  Committee


Having initiated the process of formally introducing Relationships and Sexuality Education in 1994, in March 1997 the Minister for Education and Science asked Fr. Ó’Fríghil, Chairperson of our Board of Management, to establish an R.S.E. policy committee, which would represent parents, teachers and the Board of Management. The committee would consist of six members, two from each strand of the partnership with due regard given to gender balance across the committee.


Parents :                          3rd June 1997,  Helen Gogarty and Justin Gillespie nominated to represent parents.


Board of Management : 9th March 1998,  Máirín McCartney and Seamus                                          Campbell nominated to represent the Board of Management .


Teachers :    13th March 1998,  Mairead McLoone and Enda Nolan nominated to                                                                represent teaching staff.



  1. Meetings held and dissemination of information to parents, teachers and Board of Management


19th May, 1998 :       The committee attended an R.S.E. Policy Development             Seminar in the Donegal Education Centre facilitated by the      R.S.E. Training Support Service for Schools.


10th June, 1998 :       The committee met in the school to draft policy.


14th Sept., 1998 :      The committee met in the school to draft policy.


12th Oct., 1998 :       The committee met in the school to draft policy .

Draft Policy Statement finalised and circulated to the eight                                               members of the Board of Management for their                                                                  consideration in advance of the November meeting of the                                               Board.


24th Nov., 1998 :      At a meeting of the Board of Management the Draft Policy                                               Statement was approved.


2nd Dec., 1998 :        A copy of the Draft Policy Statement was sent to all                                                         parents  and teachers. Comments, opinions, suggestions                                                   and  amendments were invited not later than 11th                                                               December 1998.

  1. contd.


18th Jan., 1999 :        Policy Committee met in the school to consider responses                                                from parents and teachers. It was decided to give parents                                                  and teachers a further three weeks to consider the Draft                                                    Policy Statement. Parents and teachers were informed by                                                   letter (20th January 1999), inviting responses not later                                                    than   12th February 1999.


1st March, 1999 :      Policy Committee met in the school to consider responses                                                from parents and teachers.


29th March, 1999 :    Policy Committee met in the school to consider responses                                                 from parents and teachers.


26th April, 1999 :      Policy Committee finalised amendments to the Policy                                                        Statement. The amended Policy Statement was circulated                                                to the eight members of the Board of Management for                                                         their  consideration in advance of the May meeting of the                                                  Board.


17th May, 1999 :       Board of Management having discussed and considered                                                    the amendments, approved the amended Policy                                                                   Statement and adopted it as the official R.S.E. Policy                                                          Statement of Scoil an Linbh Íosa.





  1. People consulted


(i)    Parents, teachers and members of Board of Management


(ii)   Office of Bishop Philip Boyce,

Bishop of Raphoe,

Ard Adhamhnáin,



(iii)  R.S.E. Training Support Service for Schools,

Drumcondra Education Centre,


Dublin 8.


(iv)  Donegal Education Centre,


Donegal Town.


(v)   ACCORD

             (Catholic Marriage Advisory Council)


  1. Comments, opinions, suggestions received, review of the document and presentation to the Board of Management for approval.


Out of a total of 272 parents and teachers circulated, 7 replies signed by twelve parents were returned.  This represents 4% of the total number of people who received the Draft Policy Statement. Apart from reservations about the R.S.E. programme on grounds of principle and queries on the day to day operation of the programme, the following were the main areas of the Policy Statement that respondents sought amendments to:

– the danger of a culture of self-centredness being promoted.

– that young and immature children would not be given explicit sex education.

– that children should not discuss feelings and experiences in a group situation.

– that right and wrong are not a matter of personal opinion but of objective                 reason.

– that it be clear that the programme be in line with Catholic teaching.



Copies of all comments on the draft policy statement were furnished to the six Policy Committee members.  The Policy Committee then met on three subsequent occasions namely 01/03/99, 29/03/99 and 26/04/99, as outlined at No. 2 above, to discuss all comments opinions and suggestions made.  At these meetings, amendments to the policy statement were discussed and approved. A final draft policy statement was prepared incorporating amendments and that amended draft was forwarded to the Board of Management for their consideration in advance of the May meeting of the Board.  The Board adopted the amended statement as the official R.S.E. Policy Statement for Scoil an Linbh Íosa.