Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

Section 4 of the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools requires schools to have an agreed policy for RSE and a suitable RSE programme in place for all students at both junior and senior cycle. At Junior Cycle, the RSE programme is part of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). It is the responsibility of the board of management to ensure that an RSE programme is made available to all students.

In January 1995 and May 1996 the Department of Education and Science issued Circulars  M4/95 and  M20/96 respectively to post-primary schools. The circulars requested schools to begin the process of developing their policies to include RSE and wider aspects of SPHE in their curricula for all students from first year to sixth year.  Circulars M22/00 and M11/03 required schools to introduce the SPHE Junior Cycle Curriculum on a phased basis, with full implementation by September 2003.


In 1997 the Department of Education and Science issued Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy Guidelines to assist schools with the process of developing a policy for RSE. The template below is based primarily on these guidelines, with some additional material being included to assist schools in clarifying policy content.

Resource materials to support the teaching of RSE at both Junior and Senior Cycle are available on the SPHE website


Download a Template Policy showing suggested steps to follow in developing and revising/updating the policy.

Sample Policy

Download a sample policy