Download Social Personal & Health Education Policy.  (pdf, 198kb)


This document has been formulated by the teaching staff of the school and has been ratified by the Board of Management. It is our reponse to the Revised Primary School Curriculum to conform to the principles outlines in this curriculum and to review our practices in the light of these principles. It is the policy of the school that all Socila, Personal and Health Education is in accord with our Roman Catholic ethos.



To conform to principles outlined in the Primary Curriculum that “foster the personal development, health and well-being of the child and helps him / her to create and maintain supportive relationships and to become an active and responsible citizen in society”  (p.2 Teacher Guidelines)


Vision and Aims:


In light of the overall mission statement for the children in this school, “St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. cherishes all pupils equally, so it can develop the child’s true potential in a pleasant, respecful and safe learning environment.”  St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. is a Catholic school serving children from many cultures and denominations.  This policy aims to foster inclusive and respectful learning and behaviours


We endorse the aims of the Primary school curriculum for Social, Personal and Health Education:

  • 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.



Active learning is the principal teaching and learning approach recommended for SPHE. The SPHE programme reflects a spiral approach, where similar aspects are revisited in different ways according to the age, stage of development and readiness of the child. SPHE is intrinsic to the learning and teaching that occurs both formally and informally in the school and in the classroom.


SPHE is planned in such a way that the child will receive a comprehensive programme in SPHE over two two-year periods.


The Stay Safe programme is delivered in fourth and sixth class as recommended by the PDST. (see Stay Safe Policy)


Primary resources:

  • R.S.E. Programme
  • Walk Tall Programme
  • Stay Safe Programme


  1. Contexts for SPHE:


SPHE will be taught in St Fiachra’s S.N.S. through a combination of the following three contexts:

  1. Positive School Climate and Atmosphere

St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. has created a positive atmosphere by:

  • Developing effective and appropriate communication
  • Catering for individual needs
  • Creating a health-promoting physical environment
  • Developing democratic processes
  • Enhancing self-esteem
  • Fostering respect for diversity
  • Fostering inclusive and respectful language
  • Developing a school approach to assessment


  1. Discrete time for SPHE

SPHE is allocated 30 mins per week on each teacher’s timetable in Fiachra’s S.N.S.  However teachers may allocate 1 hour per fortnight to allow for more in depth exploration of a strand unit.


  1. Integration with other subject areas and Linkage within SPHE

Teachers will endeavour to adopt a thematic approach to SPHE by integrating it with other subject areas such as Language, Geography, History, Religion, Visual Arts, Physical Education, etc. Themes/Projects such as Healthy Eating, Agri-Awareness, Lenten Campaign, Road Safety Awareness, Fair Trade, etc. will also be explored.


  1. Approaches and Methodologies:


St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. believe that the approaches and methodologies used in SPHE are crucial to the effectiveness of the programme. Active learning is the principal learning and teaching approach recommended for SPHE, therefore we will endeavour toteach SPHE using a variety of strategies which include:

  • Drama activities
  • Co-operative games
  • Use of pictures
  • Photographs and visual images
  • Written activities
  • Use of media
  • Information technologies


  1. Assessment:


Assessment is a central part of the everyday learning and teaching process in SPHE. It can provide valuable information on the child’s progress and on the effectiveness and suitability of the programme and the teaching methods being used. St. Fiachra’s S.N.S.  uses the following recommended informal tools for assessment in SPHE:

  • Teacher observation
  • Teacher-designed tasks
  • Projects


5. Children with Different Needs:


Teachers will endeavour to adapt and modify activities and methodologies in SPHE to encourage participation by children with special needs. The learning support and resource teachers will supplement the work of the class teachers where necessary. St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. will liaise with trained professionals/appropriate agencies when dealing with sensitive issues such as bereavement or loss to ensure that the children involved are fully supported.

6. Equality of Participation and Access


St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. recognises and values diversity, and believes all children are entitled to access the services, facilities, or amenities that are available in the school environment. Ours is a mixed-sex senior school and we endeavour to challenge traditional stereotypes and ensure that equal opportunities are given to boys and girls to participate in discussion, debate, presentation, etc.  St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. is under Roman Catholic school management, and we endeavour to provide for Members of Travelling community, children with disabilities and learning difficulties and chl1dren who are learning English as a second language.


  1. Organisational Integration

Policies that support SPHE:

  • Child Protection Policy
  • RSE policy
  • Code of Behaviour
  • Substance abuse policy
  • School policy on use of mobile phones
  • Internet: Acceptable use policy
  • Healthy Eating Policy
  • Anti-bullying Policy



Programmes and Other Materials:

  • Stay Safe Programme
  • Relationships and Sexuality Education Programme
  • Walk Tall Programme
  • Webwise


Guest Speakers:

  • Accord facilitators
  • Garda Síochána
  • Fire Fighters
  • Dental Hygienist


8.Teacher Planning and Reporting

Both this plan and the curriculum documents will inform and guide teachers in their long and short term planning in SPHE. Each teacher will keep a Cuntas Miosuil and this will inform our progress and needs when evaluating and reviewing our progress in SPHE.


  1. Staff Development


Teachers are encouraged to attend SPHE related courses and will share information/skills acquired at these courses with other members of staff during staff meetings. Attendance at such course will be encouraged by the BoM. Teachers may apply for a refund of any fees paid and finance will be provided whenever possible.

10. Parental Involvement


Parental involvement is considered an integral part to effectively implementing S.P.H.E. as St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. believe that SPHE is a shared responsibility.


11. Community Links


At St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. we believe that the local community has a very important role to play in supporting the programme in SPHE and we endeavour to liaise with the members such as the Dental Hygienist, Health Nurse, Fireman, etc


12. Success Criteria


The success of this plan will be evaluated through teacher’s planning and preparation, and if the procedures outlined in this plan have been consistently followed. We will also judge its success if the children have been enabled to achieve the aims outlined in this plan.




(a) Roles and Responsibilities:

St. Fiachra’s S.N.S. believes that the school community must be involved to successfully implement SPHE. Therefore the teaching staff will implement this plan with the support of the Board of Management, Parents and the Local Community.

(b) Timeframe:

The revised plan was implemented in September 2019.




(a) Roles and Responsibilities:

It will be necessary to review this plan on a regular basis to ensure optimum implementation of the SPHE curriculum in the school. Cora Allen is responsible for co-ordinating this review.

(b) Timeframe:

This plan will be reviewed in September 2021