In the Context of Education for Personal Relationships

“We are made to love and be loved.”

Rationale:

“… children and young people should be helped to develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual qualities … they should receive a positive and prudent education in matters relating to sex … and young people have the right to be stimulated to make sound moral judgements based on a well-informed conscience and to put them into practice with a sense of personal commitment …”

Gravissimum Educationis No. 1 (para. 3) Second Vatican Council 28.10.65

Purposes:

  • To promote the spiritual, social, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils to prepare pupils for the responsibilities and experiences of adult life
  • To provide knowledge about loving relationships, the nature of sexuality and the processes of human procreation
  • To develop self-respect and self-worth, recognising that each of us is created in the image of God
  • To explore the meaning and value of life, and give an appreciation of the values of family life
  • To develop the pupils’ understanding that love is central to and the basis of meaningful relationships.
  • To enable pupils to have an understanding of themselves, their own bodies, their emotional development, as they grow and change and have awareness of human fertility.
  • To encourage pupils to be aware of their attitudes and values and have a sense of responsibility for themselves, their choices and the consequences of the decisions they take.
  • To enable pupils to reflect on their relationships and recognize the qualities that help relationships to grow and develop positively.
  • To have some understanding of, and to give sensitive consideration to, the beliefs, values and cultures of others.
  • To provide knowledge and develop understanding of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church regarding personal relationships in accordance with the Gospel.
  • To provide pupils with opportunities to reflect upon and distinguish between the Church’s teaching and contemporary views on sexual matters.
  • The teaching programme shall be delivered through Schemes of Work in R.E., P.S.E. and Science.
  • The whole-school dimension should take into account the moral development of young people and be aware of current attitudes and contemporary issues.
  • The programme should be addressed regularly as part of the Primary Cross-Phase work in order to ensure continuity of education.
  • There should be good links with support agencies and diocesan provision.
  • The policy and programme should be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • The sensitive issues in the programmes of study, such as single parenthood, pre-marital sex relationships, HIV/AIDS issues, homosexuality, masturbation, fertility awareness and control, contraception and abortion, should be taught in accordance with the teachings of the Church’s Gospel values.
  • The programme of sex education should be followed as outlined in Appendix 1: “Guidelines for the Sex Education Curriculum”.
  • There shall be a regular teacher in-service training for the programme.

“Guidelines for the sex education curriculum”

At Key Stage 3:

Pupils should:

  • Understand the changes that have taken/are taking place in their own bodies.
  • Have a positive self-image.
  • Know they have value and have respect for themselves and for others.
  • Be aware of their emotions and how they respond to emotional change
  • Understand the factors involved in family life and the role of parents.
  • Appreciate the value of relationships, their changing nature, both within and outside the family.
  • Be aware of the choices they make in relationships.
  • Understand the life process of reproduction in animals.
  • Understand and know the human life cycle, physical and emotional factors necessary for humans in the early stages of development and the physical and emotional changes during adolescence.
  • Have an awareness of human fertility – the constant fertility of the male, the cyclical fertility of the female, and the consequent changes in feelings the cycle brings.
  • Be aware of the variety of attitudes there are towards sexuality in society and to be able to make their own judgements on the values they meet
  • Recognise that they are gifted and that sexuality is a gift from God.
  • Know what is meant by responsible behaviour in matters of sexuality.
  • Begin to make decisions and judgements based on knowledge of issues considered with personal health, well-being and safety.
  • Recognise that birth, growth and marriage are celebrated by rituals we call Sacraments.
  • Know that some people chose to remain celibate for a variety of reasons.
  • Understand why some actions are considered good and others bad
  • Know that certain life-styles and patterns of behaviour can damage health.
  • Understand and be aware of HIV/AIDS and its transmission.
  • Be aware of different moral values and explore those held by different cultures and groups.

At Key Stage 4:

Pupils should:

  • Know and understand what is involved in relationships, leading to marriage. Begin to have some understanding that family life can lead to happy, fulfilling relationships.
  • Appreciate the sacrament of marriage.
  • Have positive attitudes towards their own sexuality.
  • Develop responsible attitudes to sexual behaviour.
  • Value human life and understand the process of human conception, birth and development.
  • Appreciate the moral value attached by different societies and cultures to the embryo.
  • Be able to understand and manage change in relationships.
  • Know what is involved in divorce.
  • Be able to express their feelings and be aware of themselves and the emotional changes they experience.
  • Be aware of the influence of the media on attitudes to sexuality, to self-image and stereotyping.
  • Understand the importance of the choices we make and the effect we have on others.
  • Be aware of different life-styles and the effects they can have on those involved and on society.
  • Know what is meant by sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Understand HIV/AIDS and the issues involved.
  • Be able to discuss sensitive and controversial issues, such as contraception, abortion, HIV/AIDS, and developments which involve the consideration of attitudes, values, beliefs and morality.
  • Accept responsibility for one’s actions and to be able to justify personal choice and decisions
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