Galway Community College

Relationship & Sexual Education


In the school setting, RSE will be taught at Junior Cycle in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education.

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) contributes to developing the work of the school in promoting the health and well-being of children and young people. This happens in the context of their emotional, moral, social and spiritual growth, as well as their intellectual, physical, political, religious and creative development. SPHE is taught in Galway Community College at Junior Cycle during one 40 minute class period each week over the academic year.

Class organisation and timetabling

All second level schools must implement Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) as an element of SPHE at junior cycle and as an RSE programme in senior cycle. The time allocation recommended is (at least) six periods of 40 minute classes per year.

This is delivered in the classroom setting and is often supplemented by outside agencies in the form of dedicated workshops, always with the SPHE/RSE teacher in attendance.

RSE Aims and Objectives

Aims • To help young people understand and develop friendships and relationships • To promote an understanding of sexuality • To promote a positive attitude to one’s own sexuality and in one’s relationship with others • To promote knowledge of and respect for reproduction • To enable young people to develop attitudes and values towards their sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework. • To enable students to make informed choices.

Objectives RSE should enable the students to:

  • explore personal thoughts, values, attitudes and feelings about relationships
  • develop an understanding of the different types of relationships, what is important in them and the skills to enhance relationships
  • promote empathy with others who have different cultural values, attitudes and beliefs about family, relationships, sex and sexuality
  • develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in support of sexual reproductive health
  • develop students’ understanding of sexuality and sexual orientation and the importance of an inclusive environment
  • develop personal and interpersonal skills which support beginning, maintaining and ending relationships
  • develop skills for coping with peer pressure, conflict and threats to personal safety

The content of RSE at post-primary level is described under three themes.

Junior Cycle Themes:

Human growth and development

This theme consists of an age appropriate understanding of the biology and psychology of the human life cycle from conception through birth and growth to death. This is accompanied by a rationale for responsible behaviour in relationships and sexual activity, it includes insights into physical well - being, infection and disease.

Human sexuality

This theme deals with human sexuality as including all aspects of the human person that relate to being male and female and being subject to change throughout life.

Human relationships

This theme focuses on the importance of relationships for health and well-being. It examines how one relates to self and others – family, friends (significant and incidental) – and stresses the importance of self-esteem as a basis for worthwhile friendships and relationships.

Year One: Description of Lesson

  • Me as unique and different
  • Friendships
  • Changes at puberty
  • The male and female reproductive system
  • Images of male and female
  • Respecting self and others

Year Two: Description of Lesson

  • From conception to birth
  • Peer pressure and other influences
  • Managing relationships
  • Making responsible decisions
  • Health and personal safety
  • Body image

Year Three: Description of Lesson

  • Where am I now? This lesson will consist of a review of human growth and development
  • Relationships – what’s important?
  • The three R’s – respect, rights and responsibility in relationships
  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution

Lesson themes for Senior Cycle.Based on the continuation of the three themes; Human Growth and Development; Human Sexuality and Human Relationships

  • Recognising and expressing feelings and emotions
  • Fertility awareness
  • Contraception
  • Values and relationships
  • Personal integrity
  • Responsible parenthood
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Sexual harassment

Resources include:

RSE Curriculum Guidelines

RSE Policy Booklet

RSE Parent Booklet Junior Cycle

RSE Resource Materials Senior Cycle

Resource Materials

You Can Talk to Me

Busy Bodies

The Facts Leaflets-STIs, Contraception, Pregnancy etc.

TRUST Talking Relationships Understanding Sexuality Training

Related websites e.g.

Junior Cycle text book My Life 1, 2 3 and e-book and e-resources

Lockers is an information and education resource, launched to mark Safer Internet Day 2016. It assists schools in coping with and preventing the sharing of explicit self-generated images of minors, and addresses issue of non-consensual sharing and possession of intimate images (often referred to as Sexting). The Lockers Programme ( has been implemented by Galway Community College as part of SHPE/RSE since 2016 to year 2 and year 3 students.

The topic of Consent is addressed as part of SPHE/RSE in all classes.

Galway Community College,
Wellpark Rd,

 091 755464

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