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Proposed upskilling programme for SPHE/RSE Teachers

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 21/04/2022. Proposed upskilling programme for SPHE/RSE TeachersTags: Teachers

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has announced her intention to provide funding for a new postgraduate programme to upskill registered post-primary teachers teaching social personal and health education/ relationships and sexuality education (SPHE/RSE).

This programme will provide a pathway for progression for post-primary teachers interested in developing their skills in teaching SPHE/RSE and in so doing build capacity and leadership within the teaching profession in relation to the teaching of SPHE/RSE.

Minister Foley said:

“I am delighted to announce my intention to provide teachers with access to a new postgraduate course to be developed for teachers in post-primary schools teaching SPHE/RSE. Schools and teachers will be supported to access the upskilling programme and course fees will be covered by Department funding.

“The complexity of the role of the SPHE/RSE teacher and the range of sensitive topics addressed within the SPHE/RSE classroom has implications for teacher professional development. Curricular changes at both Junior and Senior Cycle level are imminent and will require enhanced teacher competency to successfully implement these curricular changes.

“Wider government policy and societal changes have highlighted the need to build teacher capacity so that teachers can work collaboratively and confidently in schools to provide effective SPHE (including RSE), so that children and young people can be supported in better managing change in their life.”

This programme will upskill registered post-primary teachers in SPHE/RSE. In the course of the programme, it is intended that each participant will be provided with high quality pedagogical content knowledge and will be empowered to become an effective and enthusiastic teacher of this subject. The design and delivery of the programmes should recognise recent curricular and other reforms.

The learning for participants will be grounded in an approach that affirms the right of children and young people to a comprehensive and inclusive SPHE/RSE that is inclusive of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, religious beliefs, social classes and abilities/disabilities. While the acquisition of specialist knowledge is important, the development of other core competencies particular to teaching SPHE/RSE are equally critical. In this context, a focus on teachers’ own personal development and on the development of a skill-set that is needed for the SPHE/RSE classroom is a key requirement of any upskilling course. All modules should take cognisance of the relationship between these three core competencies: personal development, skills and knowledge.

Minister Foley said:

“Effective SPHE/RSE teaching requires content knowledge and pedagogical skills specific to SPHE/RSE. It requires teachers, having the personal dispositions and competencies needed to teach all topics within the curriculum with confidence and competence. High levels of self-awareness, emotional regulation, personal and professional reflection and skills for facilitation are essential.

“The Department of Education has recently engaged with higher education institutions and it is hoped that a number of HEIs will be interested in designing and developing an upskilling programme. I look forward to announcing further details on this initiative at the conclusion of the procurement process.”

Notes to Editors

In April 2018, the then Minister for Education and Skills asked the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to undertake a major review of RSE in schools across all stages of education to ensure that it is fit for purpose and meets the needs of young people today in modern Ireland. The NCCA published the report of its review in December 2019. The NCCA report is available here

Subsequent to the report, the NCCA established two subject development groups, one for primary and one for post-primary, to oversee the work in this area and support the development of guidance material for schools. Preparation for redeveloping and updating the SPHE curriculum is ongoing.

A draft revised Junior Cycle specification is due to be agreed at NCCA Council followed by a public consultation when schools return in September. The final revised specification is due to be completed by the end of 2022 and rolled out in schools from September 2023. Updated specifications for primary and senior cycle will follow immediately afterwards.

Source: DOE Press Release


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