Timetabling pressures influence the provision of SPHE in schools

A new report has found that curriculum overload, timetabling pressures and lack of status influence the provision of social, personal and health education to Junior Cycle students at post primary schools.

The study, which was carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway and aimed to examine the contribution of the SPHE to students, revealed the subject was “challenging, worthwhile, valuable and helpful”. It also outlined that quality teaching and relevant resources are essential for its successful implementation in schools.

The report entitled “The Implementation of SPHE at post-primary school level: A case study approach” suggests more emphasis needs to be given to whole-school in-service training in order to create a whole-school approach that will support the SPHE programme. It also states that the HSE plays a pivotal role in assisting schools to link with their local communities.

Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre, says schools and teachers are an important part of children’s lives.

“Together with parents and families they play a key role in improving health and well-being. This research illustrates the value of us all working together to help improve children’s lives.”

SPHE is concerned with enabling young people to reflect on their attitudes and values and to adopt appropriate behaviours to help them cope with life’s challenges. One of the key aims of the SPHE programme is to develop students’ personal and social confidence and to give them the skills to make responsible decisions that respect their dignity and that of others.

The report examines the quality and value of SPHE; supports for the implementation of SPHE; the contribution of SPHE to the health and educational experience of Junior Cycle students; the perspectives of stakeholders and the possible introduction of SPHE into senior cycle.

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