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Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy (RSE)

Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy (RSE)


It is a statutory requirement that all schools in Northern Ireland have a ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’ (RSE) Policy.

This policy has been written in line with Department of Education N.I. requirements and through consultation with parents/carers, staff, and governors and has been ratified by the Board of Governors. It will be updated annually.

The general aim of education is to contribute towards the development of all aspects of the individual, including the aesthetic, creative, critical, cultural, emotional, intellectual, moral, physical, political, social and spiritual development for personal and family life, for working life, for living in the community and for leisure. Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is clearly a part of this general aim. (RSE Guidance for Primary Schools) Relationships and Sexuality Education is an integral part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum in both primary schools and must be delivered in a sensitive manner, which is appropriate to the age and understanding of pupils and the ethos of the school.

The provision of RSE is an equal opportunities issue. All pupils have a right to an education, which adequately prepares them for adult life, and good RSE plays an integral part. It can have a positive effect on self-esteem. Schools can help to develop their pupils’ self- esteem by creating a climate of trust and acceptance in which each person is valued and respected and encouraged to feel good about themselves. Pupils are encouraged to recognise their individual needs, to respect the needs and wants of others, and to develop the skills and self- esteem to become confident adolescents.

RSE in schools can increase informed choice by providing opportunities for pupils to examine their own values and beliefs in the light of those held by others. Deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that they hold can help pupils to clarify why they think and behave as they do, to separate fact from fiction, to recognise prejudice and to respect the views, emotions and feelings of others.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is: ‘…a lifelong process which encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills, and the development of attitudes, beliefs and values about personal and social relationships and gender issues.’
Sexuality includes all aspects of the human person that relate to being male or female and is subject to change and development throughout life. Sexuality is an integral part of the human personality and has biological, cultural, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to give and receive love and the aptitude for forming relationships with others. 

Teaching RSE should provide opportunities which enable pupils to:

  • form values and establish behaviour within a moral, spiritual and social framework;
  • examine and explore the various relationships in their personal lives;
  • learn how to develop and enjoy personal relationships and friendships which are based on responsibility and mutual respect;
  • build the foundations for developing more personal relationships in later life;
  • make positive, responsible choices about themselves and others and the way they live their lives.

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