Social, Personal and Health Education

Social, personal and health education (SPHE) provides students with a unique opportunity to develop the skills and competence to learn about themselves and to care for themselves and others, to make informed decisions about their health, personal lives, and social development. Students can be enabled to participate as active and responsible adults in the personal and social dimensions of society and to make responsible decisions that respect their own dignity and the dignity of others. 

O’ Carolan College prides itself on a friendly and caring learning environment. The Code of conduct promotes good behaviour in a positive setting. Each class has a tutor which is a vital link in helping each student develop and grow. Tutors meet with their Tutor class each day.

We have a core team of SPHE teachers that meet regularly on a formal and informal basis. The core text book for SPHE is ‘I Belong’ at junior level and ‘It’s Your Life’ at senior level. Further to work in the classroom, there are many whole school approaches to SPHE. These include an Anti-Bullying week, Mental Health Awareness week and Healthy Eating week. These events include guest speakers and workshops and many other cross curricular initiatives. Each year group is under the guidance of a Year Head. Year Heads meet with tutors and monitor the progressed of the tutor groups. Weekly assembly is held for each year group.  

Junior Cycle.

The SPHE junior cycle curriculum is presented in ten modules, each of which appears in each year of the three year cycle:

  • Belonging and Integrating
  • Self-management: a sense of purpose
  • Communication skills
  • Physical health
  • Friendship
  • Relationships and sexuality
  • Emotional Health
  • Influences and decisions
  • Substance use
  • Personal safety

The emphasis will be on building skills, understanding, attitudes and values important in all these areas. SPHE student now undertake a Classroom Based Assessment. Each Classroom-Based Assessment includes an SPHE project and an individual reflection. The project can be based on any topic related to the course and should draw upon learning from at least two strands of the SPHE short course. By drawing on their learning in at least two strands, students can make important connections between the different aspects of their personal, social and health wellbeing,


Senior Cycle

The curriculum framework for SPHE in senior cycle is an enabling curriculum.  The framework is built around five areas of learning.  These areas of learning focus on what is important for learners in senior cycle to know, understand and be able to do in order to make and maintain healthy lifestyle decisions. The five areas of learning are:

  • Mental health
  • Gender studies
  • Substance use
  • Relationships & sexuality
  • Physical activity and nutrition
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