Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (238)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

238. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to the social, personal and health education programme currently run in second level schools as a compulsory part of the curriculum, his plans to maintain this as a mandatory subject; and if he has any plans to reform the said programme. [12931/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The NCCA is designing a range of short courses which will be available to schools from September 2014 including a short course in SPHE. Schools may choose to incorporate these short courses into their junior cycle programme either for certification purposes or not for certification. They may choose not to opt for the new short course and may choose to continue to use existing courses or other approaches to meet the Framework's Principles, Statements of Learning and Key Skills relevant to these areas. Schools will have the flexibility to determine how best to meet the range of Statements of Learning, Key Skills and Principles that relate to the areas currently covered in SPHE.

The new Framework for Junior Cycle which I published last October will, inter alia, aim to increase the importance of physical wellbeing in several ways:

The Framework is based on eight Principles. The Principle of "Wellbeing" undertakes to ensure that "the student experience contributes directly to their physical wellbeing." The Principle of "Inclusive Education" undertakes to ensure that "the educational experience is inclusive of all students and contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcomes for all"

Contained in the Junior Cycle's Statements of Learning is the stated aim that the student "takes action to safeguard and promote his/her wellbeing and that of others"; is "confident and competent in physical activity and is motivated to be physically active" and that he/she "understands the importance of food and diet in making healthy lifestyle choices".

In addition, eight Key Skills are required for successful learning across the curriculum and beyond the school. This is in recognition of the fact that learning takes place both inside and outside of the formal school environment. One of these Key Skills is "Staying Well", which adopts a holistic approach to wellbeing and includes "Being healthy, physical and active".