Social, Personal & Health Education (S.P.H.E)

Ravenswell Primary School

Social, Personal and Health Education Policy (SPHE)


  • This plan was originally formulated during an in-school curriculum day under the guidance of an SPHE Cuiditheoir in 2007 and subsequently ratified by Parents Association and Board of Management by September 2007. All staff were involved in the development of the plan.
  • Due to a number of changes and improvements in the school, the policy was reviewed and updated in the 1st term of 2010 and again in 2021.
  • The Parents Association represented the views of the parent body in the review.


  • SPHE in our school will enable each child to develop a positive sense of self-esteem.  It will enhance their social and communication skills and equip them with the knowledge and ability to lead a healthy life.


Based on the Revised Primary School Curriculum, the aims of SPHE in Ravenswell PS are:

  • to promote the personal development and well-being of the child
  • to foster in the child a sense of care and respect for himself/herself and others and an appreciation of the dignity of every human being
  • to promote the health of the child and provide a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects
  • to enable the child to make informed decisions and choices about the social, personal and health dimensions of life both now and in the future
  • to develop in the child a sense of social responsibility, a commitment to active and participative citizenship and an appreciation of the democratic way of life
  • to enable the child to respect human and cultural diversity and to appreciate and understand the interdependent nature of the world.

(See page 9 of the Curriculum Statement)


When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances, the SPHE curriculum should enable the child to:

  • be self-confident and have a positive sense of self-esteem
  • develop a sense of personal responsibility and come to understand his/her sexuality and the processes of growth, development and reproduction
  • develop and enhance the social skills of communication, cooperation and conflict resolution
  • create and maintain supportive relationships both now and in the future
  • develop an understanding of healthy living, an ability to implement healthy behaviour and a willingness to participate in activities that promote and sustain health
  • develop a sense of safety and an ability to protect himself/herself from danger and abuse
  • make decisions, solve problems and take appropriate actions in various personal, social and health contexts
  • become aware of, and discerning about, the various influences on choices and decisions
  • begin to identify, review and evaluate the values and attitudes that are held by individuals and society and to recognise that these affect thoughts and actions
  • respect the environment and develop a sense of responsibility for its long-term care
  • develop some of the skills and abilities necessary for participating fully in groups and in society
  • become aware of some of the individual and community rights and responsibilities that come from living in a democracy
  • begin to understand the concepts of personal, local, national, European and global identity
  • appreciate and respect the diversity that exists in society and the positive contributions of various cultural, religious and social groups
  • promote the values of a just and caring society in an age-appropriate manner and understand the importance of seeking truth and peace.

(See page 10 of the Curriculum Statement)


Since SPHE is spiral in nature we will cover the following content at each class level throughout the school over a two year period.

MonthClasses Junior Infants 1st class 3rd Class 5th ClassClasses Senior Infants 2nd Class 4th Class 6th Class
September-OctoberStrand:Myself Strand Unit:Self IdentityStrand:Myself Strand Unit:Taking Care of my Body
November-December Strand:Myself Strand Unit:Growing and ChangingStrand:Myself Strand Unit: Safety and Protection*
January – FebruaryStay Safe – All RSE – Sensitive Lessons**Stay Safe – Sensitive Lessons RSE – Sensitive Lessons**
Infants – 2nd Strand:Myself Strand Unit:Growing and Changing   3rd – 6th Strand:Myself Strand Unit:Making Decisions
March – AprilStrand: Myself and Others Strand Unit:Myself and My Family  Strand: Myself and Others Strand Unit: My Friends and Other People
May – JuneStrand: Myself and Others Strand Unit:Relating to Others    Strand: Myself and the Wider World Strand Unit: Developing Citizenship          
Strand: Myself and the Wider World Strand Unit: Media Education

* 4th class don’t have many lessons for Safety and Protections in the Making the Links document so could do a few more Taking Care of my Body lessons if they wished

**These lessons can be integrated with SESE lessons, especially for 3rd class and up

The PDST document “Making the Links” can be used as a planning aid by teachers where needed. It gives examples of lessons from Stay Safe, RSE and Walk Tall, along with some other programmes, that achieve the aims for each strand and strand unit.


SPHE time will be allocated based on the recommendations of the Revised Primary School Curriculum.

  • Time-tabled ½ hour per week or one hour per fortnight.
  • Discrete time as necessary

Key Considerations regarding Content:

  • Wide variety of family backgrounds
  • DEIS band 1 school
  • Newcomer children
  • Urban backgrounds
  • Religious background


SPHE may be integrated across the curriculum as appropriate, e.g.:

  • R.E.
  • S.E.S.E.
  • English
  • Visual Arts
  • P.E.

The following policies related to SPHE issues have been drawn up in consultation with parents and the Board of Management

  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Child Safeguarding
  • Digital Learning Policy/Acceptable Use Policy
  • Behaviour/Discipline Policy
  • Enrolment Policy
  • Substance Use Policy
  • Health and Safety Statement
  • Learning Support Policy
  • Assessment Policy
  • Religion

 Overview of the Stay Safe Programme

  • The Stay Safe programme is taught to all children.
  • The Stay Safe Programme is a teaching package designed for use in Irish primary schools.
  • It was researched and developed by the Child Abuse Prevention Programme.
  • The principal aim of the programme is to reduce vulnerability to child abuse and bullying through the provision of a personal safety education programme.
  • Under Child Protection Guidelines, all schools are obliged to teach the Stay Safe programme.
  • The revised Stay Safe Programme will be implemented in its totality in each class in the school.


  • To teach children personal safety skills so they can look after themselves in situations which could be upsetting or dangerous.

Parental Involvement:

The way in which SPHE /RSE is being introduced offers parents the opportunity to participate fully in planning and working with the school in supporting this aspect of the child’s education.

  • Parents will be informed about the SPHE /RSE Programmes for their child’s level every September.
  • As part of that meeting, Relationships and Sexuality language is given to parents for that class group and the language for the previous years’ work is also mentioned.
  • Prior to the Relationships and Sexuality module being taught a letter is sent out to all parents advising them of the upcoming lessons (see Appendix 2)
  • Parents are then in a position to support the lessons in school by talking to their children prior to, during or after the lessons.
  • All worksheets are sent home after each lesson.
  • If a parent is concerned about any aspect of lessons, the first step will be to discuss these concerns with your child’s class teacher or the school principal.
  • If following that meeting you still choose to provide the lessons at home, the parent is asked to record this request in writing to the Board of Management. Your rights as a parent with regard to your child’s participation in the school’s programme will be respected.

Approaches and Methodologies

Active learning is the principal learning and teaching approach recommended for SPHE, therefore we will endeavour to teach SPHE using a variety of strategies which include:

  • drama activities, cooperative games, use of pictures, photographs and visual images, written activities, discussion, use of media and information technologies and looking at children’s work.
  • Talk and discussion
  • Skills through Content
  • Collaborative learning
  • Problem-solving
  • Use of the Environment
  • Circle Time

Resources (Available in the school)

  • Walk Tall
  • Stay Safe Programme
  • RSE Programme
  • HSE Busy Bodies DVD and Booklet – 3rd/4th/5th/6th classes
  • Be Safe
  • SPHE Curriculum Books
  • Bi Follain.
  • Food Dudes programme
  • Headlamps project
  • Internet Safety resources – check the Digital Learning policy for more information

*Resources may be used at different times throughout the year

Community Links:

Links should be made within the local community where possible and when appropriate:

  • Visiting Speakers eg: Community Gardai, HSE, Drugs Awareness forum/School Completion Programmes (Teacher always remains in room)
  • Involved in Environmental Awards
  • Visits from Garda/health worker/parents
  • Health Board – Provide health checks,  give advice, talks with P/A
  • Multi- cultural visits
  • Supporting charities chosen in consultation with PA
  • Roots of Empathy Programme


  • Amber Flag Initiative (Mental Health & Wellbeing) – Pieta House
  • Yellow Flag Initiative (Diversity)
  • Active Flag
  • Green Schools
  • Digital Schools

Training and Staff Development

The following courses have been completed by some/all of the staff.  Staff engage with training opportunities as they become available:

  • Child Abuse Prevention Programme (Stay Safe),
  • Relationships and Sexuality programme (R.S.E.)
  • Walk Tall Programme (S.M.P.P.)
  • Children First Guidelines [DES Guidelines and Procedures]
  • Food Dudes
  • Summer Courses
  • Circle Time training
  • Rainbows Training
  • Incredible Years programme for teachers
  • Friends for Life

Success Criteria:

Self-assessment by teachers

  • Have I covered the agreed strand units?
  • What do we need to change?

Pupil assessment: P. 70-77

  • Teacher observation.
  • Teacher designed tasks and tests.
  • Projects and Portfolios.
  • Self-Assessment.

DES/external assessment

  • Informal Family and Community feedback.
  • Agencies  (Statutory etc)

Roles and Responsibilities

  • B.O.M.: ratify plan & support implementation.
  • Parents: One parent representative on the SPHE policy planning team, all parents be aware of content of school plan & support SPHE through involvement in homework; communication with parents through School Information Booklet, Parent meetings and school website.
  • Principal: oversees implementation and supports staff.
  • Teachers: follow school plans and implement SPHE accordingly.There is no post holder overseeing this area.
  • Pupils: Co-operate and participate in class lessons.
  • Other staff: be aware of the contents of this plan and follow procedures re. same.

Review and Ratification

This school plan was formulated by the principal and staff and approved by the Parent’s Association and Board of Management of Ravenswell School in June 2021

To be reviewed annually according to the needs of the school.

Signed: _________________

Dated: __________________