In the Context of Education for Personal Relationships

“We are made to love and be loved.”


“… 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


  • 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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