Social, Personal and Health Education / Relationships and Sexuality Education

Consultation on updated junior cycle SPHE curriculum is now closed

Arising from the review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in primary and post-primary schools, the need to update the curriculum was identified as a key priority.

This updating work began with junior cycle SPHE.  This updated course will provide 100 hours of learning in SPHE (an increase from 70 hours) over the three years of junior cycle.

It will be supported by resources and guidelines, which will provide further insight for teachers on how to use the updated specification when planning for teaching and learning.

Junior Cycle SPHE Background Paper

Draft Updated Junior Cycle SPHE specification

This draft document was the subject of a public consultation (July 18th - October 18th 2022) and the feedback from this consultation will inform the final specification.

Online Toolkits

Online toolkits to support teachers in their engagement with the SPHE curriculum have been developed.

For further 'Questions and Answers' on Relationships and Sexuality Education click the links below:


At the request of the Minister of Education, the NCCA undertook a major review of RSE in primary and post-primary schools. The review began in June 2018. The review included an examination of the RSE curriculum, the approach to teaching and learning, supports needed, and ways to improve the experience of RSE for students.


Participation in the review was considerable, demonstrating the level of interest people have in this aspect of education. The review involved students, parents, teachers, school leaders, researchers and organisations, with a view to gaining a full appreciation of the nature of young peoples’ needs and experience of RSE. The review was conducted in two phases.


The first phase took place between June 2018 and March 2019. There was widespread participation in this phase of the consultation. On foot of extensive consultation, the NCCA produced a Draft Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in Primary and Post-Primary Schools and began a second phase of consultation from July to October 2019. This consultation was based on proposals in the draft Report which included; the proposed advice for the future approach to RSE, suggestions regarding future curriculum developments, the conditions needed for effective RSE and other considerations. Feedback was facilitated through an online survey, written submissions and a consultative symposium.



Report  on the Review of RSE

Research Paper 

To support participants who wished to contribute to the review, a research paper has been developed by Prof. Mark Morgan, Dr Seline Keating and Dr Bernie Collins, Dublin City University. The paper provides a historical context for the review, an overview of contemporary approaches to RSE, as well as insights into the experience of teachers, parents and of course students.

Student Voice

The NCCA conducted focus group meetings with primary and post primary students across 23 schools. Their views are contained in the draft Report, in chapter 2, p. 14-25. In addition, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) organised a one-day consultation event with 77 representatives from Comhairlí na nÓg. Overview of Consultation with Comhairle na nÓg


Written Submissions

Written submissions are an important part of the NCCA’s consultation process.

To access developments related to the primary school curriculum click here.

To access developments related to senior cycle click here.  

Now that the report on the review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) has been published, what’s the next steps?

Arising from the publication of the Report on the Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in primary and post-primary schools two Development Groups, one primary and one post-primary, have been formed. The immediate focus of these groups  is to support the development of interim guidance to support the teaching of SPHE/RSE in both primary and post-primary classrooms.

In addition, the NCCA is working to address some of the immediate needs identified through the review namely;

  1. Creation of a website where teaching and learning resources for SPHE/RSE can be accessed
  2. Development of examples of good practice in this area of education
  3.  Ongoing collaboration and networking with organisations/experts in this area to inform NCCA's work.


What’s currently being taught in Irish primary and post-primary schools in RSE?
Ireland currently has a subject called Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), and Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is a key part of this. RSE has been a compulsory part of the primary and post-primary curriculum since the late 1990s. To view the current SPHE/RSE curricula please click on the relevant link below.

Post-primary – short course
Post-primary – SPHE framework
Has the NCCA developed an updated RSE curriculum for primary and post-primary schools?
No, there has been no new curriculum developed. The NCCA adopts a partnership approach to curriculum development. Beginning in 2021 an updated SPHE/RSE curriculum will be developed together with stakeholders from across education. For more information on the stakeholder's involved visit:
Who will have a say in the development of an updated curriculum?
When an updated draft curriculum for SPHE/RSE is developed it will go through the normal NCCA curriculum development structures which include representatives from all the key education stakeholders. These include representatives from Parent groups, Teacher Unions, School Management bodies, Department of Education and those with relevant expertise.
During the development of an updated draft SPHE/RSE curriculum, there will be further consultation with stakeholders and the public and the NCCA will publicise this via this website and through other media.  
How can parents be involved in the development process?
Parents are the primary educators of their children and important partners in the education process that happens within schools. The NCCA will continue to involve parents in conversations and consultation so that they can share their views as developments within SPHE/RSE continue. This will be facilitated in a variety of ways – through working with representative groups, through focus group and advisory group meetings and through further public consultation which will be publicised via the NCCA websites and social media channels and through other media. 

What topics will be taught and at what age will these be taught? 
The list of topics and when they are taught will be discussed and decided through regular NCCA processes. This involves Development Groups which include teachers, Department of Education and Skills’ inspectors and experts in the field of SPHE/RSE. The Development Group works together to develop the curriculum and in the case of SPHE/RSE decide on the list of topics and when they are to be taught. Amongst the guiding principles for all discussions will be an awareness that topics should be taught in an age-appropriate, sensitive and incremental manner. For more information on the development processes of NCCA visit
Will there be further opportunities to share my views in relation to RSE?
Yes, during curriculum development there will be further opportunities to share views through consultation.
Where can I find out up-to-date information on developments in RSE?
Through the NCCA website and social media channels which will be updated regularly. You can also email if you have any specific questions related to RSE.


The SPHE/RSE Development Group consists of the nominees from a range of education stakeholders including teacher and management bodies, Department of Education, and the State Examinations Commission. Reports of development group meetings can be accessed here.

Note of meeting October 2020

Note of Meeting November 2020

Note of Meeting December 2020

Note of Meeting February 2021

Note of Meeting March 2021

Note of Meeting May 2021

Note of Meeting June 2021

Note of Meeting September 2021

Note of Meeting November 2021

Note of Meeting December 2021

Note of Meeting January 2022