NUI Galway Researchers Report Health and Educational Experience at Post Primary

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Support Service and the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway are pleased to announce the launch of a report entitled The Implementation of SPHE at post-primary school level: A case study approach commissioned by the Management Committee of the SPHE Support Service (Post Primary). The research for the report The Implementation of SPHE at post-primary school level: A case study approach was carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre, Department of Health Promotion, NUI Galway, led by Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn and Professor Margaret Barry. The overall aim of the study was to examine the contribution of SPHE to the experience of Junior Cycle students and to the Junior Cycle curriculum. In addition to the views of teachers, SPHE Coordinators, Principals and Regional Development Officers from the SPHE Support Service it also includes the views of two significant stakeholders in the SPHE process: students and parents. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, of NUI Galway s Health Promotion Research Centre, said: "Schools and teachers are an important part of children s lives and together with parents and families play a key role in improving health and well-being". This research illustrates the value and of us all working together to help improve children s lives". SPHE is concerned with enabling young people to reflect on their attitudes and values and to adopt appropriate behaviours that will assist them in coping with life's challenges. One of the key aims of the SPHE programme is to develop the young person's personal and social confidence and to give them the skills to make responsible decisions that respect their own dignity and the dignity of others. The SPHE Support Service provides support to individual SPHE teachers and also offers school based in-service to support a whole school approach to the principles of SPHE within the context of the Health Promoting School. The report examines the quality and value of SPHE; supports for the implementation of SPHE; the contribution of SPHE to the health and educational experience of Junior Cycle students; the perspectives of stakeholders and the possible introduction of SPHE into senior cycle. The report finds that SPHE is challenging, worthwhile, valuable and helpful and that quality teaching and relevant resources are essential for successful implementation in schools. However, curriculum overload, timetabling pressures and lack of status influence SPHE provision. The report suggests that more emphasis needs to be given to whole-school in-service training in order to create a whole-school approach that will support the SPHE programme. It also states that the HSE plays a pivotal role in assisting schools to link with their local communities. The Support Service is a partnership between the Department of Education and Science, the HSE and the Department of Health and Children and is based in Marino Institute of Education, Dublin 9.
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