Relationships and Sexuality Education
Ballymena Primary School is an inclusive school committed to the provision of a safe, happy and stimulating learning environment in which everyone feels valued and our pupils are encouraged to develop their full potential. This policy reflects the ethos of our school.
We have consulted with staff, Governors and parents in the writing of this policy. Parents were given the opportunity to respond in writing and their views were taken into consideration in the shaping of this document. This policy has been ratified by the Board of Governors.
Ballymena Primary School is committed to the education of children regardless of race, religion, gender or status. Relationships and Sexuality are integral parts of the human personality and impact biologically, psychologically, culturally, socially and spiritually. The Christian ethos of the school is the cornerstone of our Relationships and Sexuality Policy.
As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, we ensure that this policy is underpinned by the UNCRC, specifically Articles 3, 29 and 30.
RSE is a lifelong process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills, and the development of attitudes, beliefs, morals and values.
RSE is about understanding and developing healthy, stable and loving relationships and developing and establishing such values as respect, tolerance, love and care. While we believe that the primary responsibility for addressing these issues rests with parents, we acknowledge the vital part the school can play in supporting and complementing this.
Teachers need to acknowledge that many children come from backgrounds that do not reflect such values or experiences. Sensitivity is therefore needed to avoid causing hurt and offence and to ensure that all children feel a sense of worth.
Morals and Values
Morals are essentially linked with behaviour and are reflected in what we do. They are related to our faith and experience. The values we uphold as a result of our morals include honesty, respect for self and others and are written into our school policies. Our ethics are based on Christian principles.
Aims of RSE
- To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of each child.
- To help children develop healthy and respectful relationships.
- To give children the opportunity to understand and deal with their feelings.
- To provide them with the skills to make decisions around their own safety.
- To promote a knowledge of and respect for themselves and others.
- To enable them to make informed choices around relationship and sexuality issues.
- To promote a healthy attitude to sexuality and relationships.
- To promote an appreciation of the value of human life.
All teachers will deliver the RSE programme and the materials used will reflect the ethos of the school. The RSE element of the curriculum will be delivered using the Living. Learning. Together. programme.
Pupils will be encouraged to appreciate the value of a stable family life and the importance of marriage as the ideal context for rearing children. We acknowledge the different family units that are represented in school and will endeavour to treat all situations sensitively.
Confidentiality and Child Protection
Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Where there is disclosure by a child, child protection procedures will be implemented.
Withdrawal from RSE
Since RSE is a statutory requirement, it should be inclusive. BPS actively promotes the implementation of RSE and strongly discourages withdrawal. The school will, however, take account of parental concerns.
RSE will be delivered in a holistic, cross curricular way, ensuring that teaching is at all times appropriate to the maturity and understanding of the pupils. Teachers will ever be alert to the personal and emotional circumstances of the pupils. RSE will include the physical and emotional changes that occur at puberty but will not include sex education.
The delivery of the RSE programme will be mainly co-educational, however, in certain circumstances it may be appropriate to speak to the pupils in single sex groups, for example, during a puberty talk in P7.
In teaching issues related to RSE, teachers will use the correct biological terms for parts of the body.
Sacredness of Life
The value of human life and the uniqueness of each individual will be at the heart of RSE teaching.
There will be no direct teaching of issues such as homosexuality, AIDS, contraception etc. However, if these issues are raised by pupils, teachers will address them sensitively.
Use of Visitors
Where appropriate, we may use the skills and expertise of outside agencies and professionals. Where this occurs, the school will be satisfied that contributions from informed outsiders are an integral part of the whole programme and in harmony with the aims and ethos of the school.
Training needs will be considered and will be provided by the EA-NE, Health Ed Specialists, School Health team and Clergy. Where outside Agencies are used for training purposes, their remit will be clear and will reflect the ethos of the school.
This policy will be reviewed every 2 years.