Social, Personal and Health Education

The SPHE Department in Clongowes aims to inspire and develop students according to their capabilities in order that they reach their full potential. It is in respect of this pastoral approach that SPHE is an enabling curriculum as it fosters the holistic development of the student.

Our SPHE programme seeks to nurture a sense of personal identity, self-esteem and awareness of each student’s particular abilities, aptitudes and limitations, combined with a respect for the rights and beliefs of others. The SPHE course fosters an understanding and critical appreciation of the values – moral, spiritual, religious, social and cultural –  which have been distinctive in shaping Irish society and which have been traditionally accorded respect in society. In conjunction with the school mission statement and building on the aims of SPHE in the primary school, taking into account especially the fact that Clongowes Wood College is a boarding school, students are taught SPHE under the following themes:

  • Friendship, belonging and integrating
  • Influences and responsible decision-making
  • Physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing
  • Self-esteem, self-management and self-confidence
  • Relationships and sexuality education
  • The development of personal and social skills
  • Personal safety and substance abuse

SPHE is taken for one class per week at junior cycle and is taught to first, second and third year students at Clongowes. The RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education) module is also taught to Transition Year and senior cycle students courtesy of the Religion department.

As there are no formal state exams in SPHE, the department does not assess students’ progress in the traditional manner. In a more general approach to caring for students, the SPHE department liaises with the pastoral and boarding staff of the school to ensure continuity of care and the wellbeing of each student so that there is consistency in enabling students to reach their full potential.