S.P.H.E. Policy

Social, Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E.)
St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare
SPHE Policy

(A) Mission Statement
"St Joseph’s is a Catholic Secondary School under the trusteeship of the Mercy Sisters. We are a caring community which fosters belonging and self-worth while providing academic and personal fulfilment".

(B) Definition of S.P.H.E. and how it Links with the School Ethos
S.P.H.E. is a programme that provides students with the unique opportunity to develop the skills and competence to learn about themselves and others, and to make informed decisions about their health, personal lives and social development.
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 the 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.
How S.P.H.E links with the School Ethos
S.P.H.E. will provide young people with skills to evaluate critically the wide range of information, opinions, attitudes and values offered today, in order that they will make positive, responsible choices about themselves and about the way they live their lives.
While the school acknowledges that the home is the natural environment for the social, personal and health development of children, the Education Act of 1998 (Section 9, subsection d) requires all recognised schools to promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them. This will happen in consultation with their parents and in the context of the Catholic Ethos of the school.
A summary of what the school currently provides for the general well being of students, both formally and informally, to support S.PH.E. is included in Appendix 1. S.P.H.E. is seen to build on this existing commitment to the care and development of students within the school.

(C) Outline of the Programme Content
The programme for S.P.H.E. is presented in ten modules, each of which appears in each year of the three-year junior cycle as outlined in Appendix II. The emphasis will be on developing skills, understanding, attitudes and values important to all these areas.
The ten modules are

  1. 1. Belonging and Integrating
  2. 2. Self-management – a Sense of Purpose
  3. 3. Communication Skills
  4. 4. Physical Health
  5. 5. Friendships
  6. 6. Relationships and Sexuality
  7. 7. Emotional Health
  8. 8. Influences and Decisions
  9. 9. Substance Use
  10. 10. Personal Safety

The Department of Education and Science recognises that each school has flexibility within this framework to plan the S.P.H.E. programme most suitable for the students and the school.

(D) Teaching Methods
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.

(E) How S.P.H.E. will be Timetabled and Taught
S.P.H.E. will be timetabled for one class period a week for first, second and third years beginning with first years in September 2003.
It will be taught in the context of the Mercy ethos and the Mission Statement of the school.

(F) Staff Development, Training and Resource Issues
The value placed on S.P.H.E. by the school will be 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 the relevant training needs of S.P.H.E. teachers. As part of the 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 S.P.H.E. Co-ordinator.

(G) Participation/Sensitive issues/Confidentiality
Participation
S.P.H.E. is a core curricular subject on the junior cycle curriculum. Relationships and Sexuality (R.S.E.) is one module of the programme. Each parent has a right to withdraw their child from R.S.E. However it will be necessary for parents of any student opting out of RSE to make suitable arrangements with school management for the welfare of their child at these times. It is important to be aware that in these circumstances the school cannot be responsible for information subsequently passed on by participating pupils.
Sensitive Issues
While it is acknowledged that teachers have a professional responsibility to impart the S.P.H.E. course content, the needs of the students will be addressed in a caring and supportive manner. Where it is appropriate the school will refer students to other supportive links or services, internal or external to the school community e.g Pastoral Care Team etc. Class discussion will be of a general nature in accordance with the previously agreed ground rules and will not be personally directed. Inappropriate questions will not be answered by a teacher or by another student. Only questions directly related to the lesson content will be addressed.
Confidentiality
The normal limits of confidentiality will apply to any information coming to the attention of the teacher. However every effort should be made to ensure that this information is dealt with in a sensitive and discreet manner.

(H) The Role of Visitors
The S.P.H.E. teacher will consult with the principal in relation to the suitability of guest speakers prior to their invitation to the school. All guest speakers will be made aware of, and requested to comply with the school S.P.H.E. policy. The presentations of guest speakers will be negotiated with the relevant S.P.H.E teacher before delivery to students. It is normal practice for teachers to remain in the classroom while visitors are there. Preparatory and follow up work where possible should be undertaken by class.
How Parents will be Informed
Appendix II and the leaflet ‘S.P.H.E. - A Guide for Parents’ will be sent to all parents of incoming students. A full and complete syllabus, core resource material and policy document will be available in the school if parents wish to view it. Parents will be informed of any substantial changes in the programme made by the Department of Education and Science.
How Teachers will be Informed
Teachers will be provided with a full copy of the school draft S.P.H.E. policy and an explanatory leaflet on S.P.H.E. Teachers will be made aware of any substantial changes made by the Department of Education and Science through the appropriate and usual channels. Interested teachers or those delivering the programme will be afforded the opportunity for a deeper discussion of the S.P.H.E. policy.
How Students will be Informed
Students will be consulted on the policy through a meeting of the students’ council. An S.P.H.E. teacher will attend this meeting.
How the Board of Management will be Informed
The S.P.H.E. draft policy will be discussed at a meeting of the Board of Management.
Review, Assessment and Evaluation
The S.P.H.E. teachers and students will review the programme on an annual basis. This is the responsibility of the S.P.H.E. Co-ordinator. The S.P.H.E. policy will be reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis by school management and the S.P.H.E. team. This is the responsibility of the S.P.H.E. co-ordinator.

Appendix I
Below is a summary of what our school currently provides for the general well-being of students, both formally and informally, to support S.P.H.E.

  • Policies including the following: Admission, Discipline, Anti-Bullying, Substance Use, Health and Safety, Attendance, I.T. etc.
  • Pastoral Care Team
  • Class teachers, Year Heads
  • Parents and Students Councils
  • Class Representatives
  • After School Study
  • Sports and Games
  • Career Guidance
  • Outside Speakers
  • Study Skills
  • Open Nights for Parents
  • Enterprises
  • Buddy System
  • Subject Fieldtrips
  • Green Schools
  • Christmas Concert
  • Concern Fast
  • Bothar
  • School Masses, including Christmas and Easter Ceremonies etc.
  • Student Retreats
  • Fund Run
  • Supporting Charities including ‘Shoe-box appeal’, Concern Fast, Bothar etc.
  • Cross-Curricular links including Religion, Health Education, Science, C.S.P.E. etc.
  • Transition Year activities
  • Parent Teacher Meetings

This S.P.H.E. Policy has been ratified by the Board of Management of St. Joseph’s
Secondary School Tulla on______________________________________________
This programme is to be fully implemented by September 2004.