Relationships and Sexuality Education

Our School Ethos

Woodland National School is a Catholic school where Catholic values and teaching are taught and respected. Our philosophy is based on the notion of each individual being created in the image and likeness of God. It aims at the holistic development of the human person. In accordance with this, its goal is the formation and development of young people as communal beings living in harmonious relationships with self, others, God and the environment.

It is a place where:

  • The intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical well being of each individual is nurtured.
  • Gospel values are encouraged.
  • Children are helped to develop healthy friendships and relationship.
  • The whole school community works together for the good of all.

This is the ethos which will inform the Relationships and Sexuality Programme to be taught in our school.

Definition of Relationship and Sexuality Education

Relationships and Sexuality Education 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 consciously and unconsciously by parents, teachers, peers, adults and the media.

Relationships and Sexuality Education provides children with structured opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs and practical skills necessary to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships as children and, subsequently, as adults.

The Aims of our Relationships and Sexuality Programme

As a parent you are the first teacher of your child, handing on values and attitudes to your children. The school aims to work together with you in this important job. The school recognises that its role is subsidiary to that of the parents and the Programme is subject to your acceptance and is not a substitute but a support for your work in the home.The aims of the Relationships and Sexuality Programme are:

  • To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well being of your child.
  • To help your child to develop healthy friendships and relationships.
  • To foster an understanding of and a healthy attitude to human sexuality and relationships
  • To develop and promote in your child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life
  • To enable your child to be comfortable with his/her sexuality and that of others, while growing and developing in a moral, spiritual and social framework.


What the school currently provides:

Relationships and Sexuality Education will be taught in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education as currently provided in ‘Alive-O’ the Health Education Programmes, Circle Time and the Walk Tall programmes, in the context of Catholic values, reflected in the school ethos. Other resources may be used where appropriate.

Content of the sensitive aspects of the curriculum are available in a separate folder and will be available to parents on request.

Guidelines for the Introduction and Organisation of the R.S.E. Programme

  1. Parents will receive a letter outlining the sensitive areas of the programme prior to its commencement usually in the 2nd or 3rd term.
  2. The programme will be taught in all classes except Junior Infants.
  3. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from particular areas of the programme.
  4. Individual teachers will have the right not to teach the programme if they so wish. In this instance the programme will be taught by an alternative, suitable adult.
  5. The dignity, modesty and privacy of each child and teacher will be respected.
  6. The emotional maturity of children within a class grouping will be taken into consideration.
  7. In the Senior Classes sensitive issues such as the changes that occur in boys and girls with the onset of puberty and sexual intercourse will be dealt with by:
    • The class teacher or
    • Another teacher or
    • A qualified person whose values are consonant with those of the school.
  8. Care will be taken in relation to what is taught and when. The kind of maturity a child requires to discuss these sensitive issues with his/her parents is one thing. A different level of maturity may be required before a child is comfortable with the same discussion in the classroom.

Also in this context consideration will be given to gender. The presumption will be that the child is not hearing the names of sexual organs and information about human reproduction for the first time in school.

Evaluation and Development

  • Relationships and Sexuality Education will be reviewed from time to time by the teaching staff as with other aspects of the Curriculum.
  • The school will encourage in-service opportunities for staff
  • The school will support parents in the provision of educational opportunities for other parents e.g. Fas Le Cheile and Under the Gooseberry Bush.

Woodland National School hopes to support you in this aspect of your child’s education, all the while recognising the role of the school as complementary to that of the home.